St John’s College is pleased to announce that the young men of the St John’s College Academy’s achieved a 100% pass rate, with many of these students achieving a BD pass.
Rofhiwa Nesthepise achieved three distinctions in Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Life Sciences complemented by three B symbols. Aristote Badibonga also achieved three distinctions in Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Life Orientation and 2020 Academy Head Boy Joel Dilungidi managed to secure a distinction in Mathematics and Life Orientation with a 70% average. Michael Mahlangu achieved a distinction for English, and a number of other students achieved distinctions in isiZulu and Life Orientation.
Rofhiwa and Joel were both awarded a Sixth Form bursary to study their Cambridge Education International A Levels this year.
“Despite the difficult circumstances that these young men found themselves in, their results are very pleasing and we are incredibly proud of the boys,” says Mrs Agnes Nugent, former Head of the St John’s College Academy.
The St John’s College community generously stepped in during the COVID-19 lockdown with donations that enabled us to assist Academy students and their families with data to continue their studies online as well as a stipend for food. Many of these families, who reside in our neighbouring communities of Hillbrow, Yeoville and Berea and Alexandra, were hard hit by the pandemic and ensuing lockdown, either not being able to work or losing their jobs altogether.
Many bursaries have been promised to these young men based on the release of their matric results. We are currently awaiting confirmation from the various universities to secure the funding so that these young men can take the next exciting steps in their lives.
“In celebrating the outstanding Matric results of all our students, we salute the St John's Academy students on their NSC results. Our Academy students have done their schools and the Academy proud, with 100% pass and the achievement of numerous distinctions in the key subjects of Mathematics, English and Physical Sciences. We applaud their hard work, dedication, perseverance and commitment to excellence under the most trying of circumstances last year. Well done!” says Mr Stuart West.
Aristote Badibanga, who achieved a distinction for Maths, Physical Sciences and Life Orientation, says he really was surprised at how well he did in the final exams, as he found remote school and study during the Covid-19 lockdown really tough.
It took everything he had to knuckle down to academics.
“It was really hard doing it on my own in isolation. But I forced myself. I would sit for days and nights at my books and computer, taking only strict 10-minute breaks. I kept thinking about wanting to do well, and that motivated me. Doing badly just was not an option. When I got into it, my ability to focus surprised me.”
He has nothing but praise and kind words for the St John’s College Academy teaching staff. “Mrs Jacobs. Mrs Nugent. Mrs McNeil. All of them. They were supportive and encouraging, kind and patient. Thank you to everybody who took the time to help me succeed. I will always remember them.”
Aristote was one of the students who enrolled in the AP Maths programme introduced to the Academy students by Mrs Kim Jacobs. He said that although he did not shoot the lights out in the AP Maths final exam, doing AP Maths in Grades 11 and 12 definitely contributed to his Maths distinction. “It was so amazing,” he says. “Maths makes sense. Maths is fun. I love Maths just because of that AP programme.”
Aristote has his eye on doing an electrical engineering degree this year at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. “Electronics fascinates me. I would really love to learn as much as possible and base my life and future on this fascinating, and very practically useful, field.”
He’s a keen basketball player and played in the first basketball team at Highland North Boys' High. Most of the year’s fixtures had to be cancelled because of Covid, he says. “It was really disappointing. But at least it gave me time to focus on academics.”
Rofhiwa Netshipise managed to secure three distinctions in his final matric examinations and, as one of the top Academy students, was awarded a bursary to St John's Sixth Form to study his A Levels this year.
A levels, he says, are incredibly tough. “I’m doing bridging courses in all my subjects, so I’m effectively doing two years’ worth of work in one year. But being a boarder at St John’s helps a lot. It’s a quiet environment, conducive to study. Plus, I’m with my friends here, and we support each other.”
Rofhiwa, who attended Highlands North Boys' High and attended the St John's College Academy in the afternoons, achieved a distinction for Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Life Orientation. “Being part of the St John’s Academy was a fantastic opportunity and experience for me,” he says. “The academic enrichment was really valuable, and the teachers helped me make sense of my curiosity, enabling me to find out who I really am and what I want to do with my life.”
He has his sights set on becoming a doctor and has applied to the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Wits and UCT to study medicine.
Rofhiwa enjoys watching soccer to relax and is a huge Kaizer Chiefs fan. “I try not to miss a single match. Amakhosi for life!”
Joel Dilungidi, who achieved distinctions for Mathematics and Life Orientation, aced matric by indulging his night-owl tendencies. “I did most of my studying between 7 pm and 2 am,” he says. “This is when the world is at its most quiet, and when I am best able to concentrate.”
“Studying is a skill that needs to be learned,” says Joel. “I started at the beginning of high school trying to remember everything. But I learned in the St John’s College Academy that knowing your material is much better than memorising it. So my study hours were spent going over my notes, focusing on understanding the material, rather than trying to remember it all.”
Joel was a learner at Barnato Park High School and Head Boy of the Academy. As one of the top Academy students in 2020, Joel was also awarded a bursary to St John’s Sixth Form to study his A Levels this year. He’s still pondering his future study options but has narrowed the field down to software engineering, actuarial sciences and medicine. “But no matter which of those I finally choose, I will need a bursary for tertiary education. I’m leaving the door, and my options, open.”
Joel enjoys running in his spare time. “A jog around the neighbourhood is a great way to clear the cobwebs,” he says. He’s also a poet and is writing a book on his experiences as a 13-year-old fleeing the DRC to come and make a new home with his aunt and uncle in Johannesburg.
“When I arrived in South Africa, I did not know a single word of English. But I learned fast, and now I speak both French and English: two languages that can take me all over Africa, and the world.”