Nicholas’ background encouraged him to keep focus

Nicholas Xavier will be studying mechanical engineering at the University of Johannesburg.

eMBALENHLE – Nicholas Xavier, a 2016 Grade 12 learner from Kiriyatswana Secondary School who got three distinctions in the final exams, said he always wanted to change the situation at home and also take care of his siblings.

He believes his background of growing up without parents helped him to keep focus.

The last time Xavier had seen his father, was when he was in Grade 2 and he does not know whether he is still alive or not.

He then lost his mother when he was in Grade 9, but thanked his sister for stepping in and playing a motherly role to them.

Xavier is the fourth child of the family of six children, plus two nephews, and none of them is working.

One of his two brothers is already at the Tswane University of Technology and the other was arrested when he was still young and is still in jail.

“I cannot say that we once slept on empty stomachs though none of us is working.

“God has always been there to watch over us and we always had good things which other children had because of Him,” said Xavier who blamed himself for not getting seven distinctions.

He got distinctions in mathematics, physical science and life sciences and missed the other subjects with two and three marks.

Xavier said he struggled with time management during the exams that was the cause of him not completing all the questions.

“Most of my peers in eMbalenhle know me as someone who is capable of getting distinctions in all my subjects and that put me under much pressure.

“I lost most of my time trying to make sure I answered all the questions perfectly,” added Xavier.

That was confirmed by another pupil from Thistle Grove Combined School who got five distinctions and has always regarded Xavier as someone who is brighter than her.

She said she met him during their weekend classes during the year.

Though he always wanted to study astro physics at Witwatersrand University, Xavier will be studying mechanical engineering at the University of Johannesburg with the bursary he received from Evander Gold Mines.

He said he already fell in love with the mining environment after he went there for exposure during the December holidays.

When asked what he thinks are the challenges learners of today face, he said: “The modern technology, especially social media, is distracting most learners from concentrating on their school work.”

He urged the Department of Education to invest more on computer labs with Wi-Fi because some learners secretly take their cell phones to school with the aim of using them to download and research school related topics and materials.

“But sometimes when you turn on the data bundles, a WhatsApp message pops up and you get tempted to respond.

“Before you even notice, you are already chatting with other people on WhatsApp and are not concentrating on studying anymore,” said Xavier who further mentioned that should there be more computers at schools and learners will use free periods and break time to research their school work, they will not see the need to take their own cell phones to school.

During his conversation on social media, he urged all learners of all grades not to spend so much time on Facebook and WhatsApp.

He said some of his peers chat on these until midnight which makes them less efficient during the day because their bodies are tired.

He also advised learners who are going to Grade 12 to begin studying early and to set goals for themselves.

Xavier said it is important for learners to always evaluate themselves throughout the year.

He thanked the teachers of the school for the contribution towards his achievement.

When asked why his school had a poor performance in the 2016 matric results, he said: “You cannot blame anyone for our school results.

“We had the best teachers who supported us throughout the year and even now I can not exactly tell what went wrong, but for me not to get seven distinctions was because of poor time management on my side.”

Levhuwani Matumba

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