Omolola Bello battled the pandemic and other obstacles to be the top matric pupil at Salt River High School.
The 18-year-old from Nyanga achieved a Bachelor’s pass with three distinctions – for life orientation, maths literacy and business skills – and an aggregate of 75%.
“I feel relieved to be finished,” she says. “When you’re in school, it’s the main thing. The teachers also tell you that you need a senior certificate to start your adult life.”
In the build-up to her finals, she decided to cut back on socialising, and she hit the books as soon as she got home from school in the afternoons.
It was a tough year, she says. Apart from the disruptions caused by the pandemic, she also had to contend with load shedding and taxi violence.
“Because of the taxi violence, the bus I normally take to school would not be available. Then I would have to walk to Borcherds Quarry Road, where it’s dangerous to take a direct bus to Salt River.”
And she and other pupils had to self isolate when there was a Covid case at school
“This would set us back with the school work, though we tried to make it up by attending Saturday classes,” she says.
She watched YouTube videos to help master maths literacy.
Omolola says she is grateful to her mom and her two older siblings for supporting her with her studies, and she also thanked the school.
Principal Donavan Nicholas says he is proud of Omolola’s achievement. “Her eagerness to learn and her intrinsic motivation has resulted in her realising her goal. She faced enormous challenges and will be an inspiration to the current group of Grade 12 pupils.”
Omolola has been accepted at UCT to study social sciences.
“I am always excited to start new chapters; you never know where the road takes you,” she says.