Imagine studying for the matric exams with intoxicated people causing chaos in the street you live in while you stress about attaining high enough marks to retain your bursary – the bursary being the only thing that allows you to stay in high school. Meanwhile you are also dealing with emotions, personal matters and dire circumstances while trying to stay focused on your school work.
Fortunately, this did not happen everyday, but was sometimes the reality of Krugersdorp High School learner Angel Phalane’s faced.
Angel lives in Soweto, which she described as an occasionally disruptive environment, and comes from a less-privileged home. Her father is a paramedic and her mother is unemployed. Although both of them are her greatest inspiration, money was sometimes a stumbling block. Luckily, her hard work in primary school paid off when she received a partial bursary at the school.
But the bliss and relief of being able to go to high school came with the stress of studying hard enough to keep her bursary. She made it through school with that sword hanging over her head and obtained six distinctions in matric. Even the principal speaks highly of his star learner.
“Honestly, I don’t know how I made it,” she said. “It was difficult living in these circumstances, but with my parents’ undying support and love there was always a reason for me to succeed.”
To her, school is not the only thing that stressed her out. “We’re not robots; we feel, we breathe, we change and we have to deal with all this background noise while trying to get somewhere.”
Angel knew that good marks would be the only thing that could make her life easier and better, and that is why she pursued it with all that was in her … and she prevailed.
Ivan Bailey, the KHS principal stands in awe of Angel’s perseverance. He believes she will go far in life, not only because of her great mind, but because she has a big heart and a kind soul.
Even though she will be studying Chemical Engineering at either the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) or Stellenbosch University, her heart lies with helping people just like her getting an education.
“I have this great big vision for my country – where all underprivileged kids can go to school without worries; where poverty is overcome by high literacy rates; where learners and students are inspired by those who struggled and succeeded before them; and where great minds are not limited by financial constraints.”
She wishes to one day return the favour and give bursaries to less privileged kids or educate them herself.
Her advice to the 2018 matrics is a simple quote by Zig Ziglar – “Your attitude determines your altitude” and the other by Nido Qubein, “Your circumstances do not determine your destiny. Self-motivation is what gets you through everything. You are the one who determines your future, no matter what it’s like now.”
Angel gave these five tips for the matrics of 2018:
1. Start from day one. Study, review and pay attention. Every single piece of information counts.
2. Listen in class. Everything forms part of your education and it moves you forward one little bit at a time.
3. Ask questions in class. Don’t be afraid to look dumb. Even if the teacher has to explain it a few times. Make sure you understand.
4. Go to extra classes.
5. Don’t procrastinate. It stresses you out to the point where you cannot be productive and you can’t crunch everything in at the last moment.
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