There is much to learn from a group of *Matriculants from Modderdam High School in Bonteheuwel, who are not only admired for their outstanding results but for taking a disadvantage and flipping it around to benefit not only their lives but that of their peers.
The learners, Jamie-Lee Samuels, Monique Niekerk, Sereno Cupido, Rhonda Adams and Wafeeqah Mohammad are all stand outs in their graduating class, scoring a total of 10 distinctions (Rhonda: 2 distinctions, Jamie-Lee: five and Wafeeqa: 3) and all earning Bachelor Passes.
Their common thread to succeed pulled through in their Grade 11 year when they all joined the Salesian Life Choices programme called Leaders’ Quest. Leaders’ Quest is a three-year intervention working with youth in Grade 11, 12 and post matric youth. It combines academic tutoring, leadership training and experiential activities. It aims at moulding a generation of young leaders from developing communities to become influential decision-makers for a greater South Africa.
Jamie, who has been accepted to study Dietetics, says that there is no secret to having a successful pass, “Just being committed and taking advice really helps. On Saturdays at Salesian Life Choices I always made sure I would ask questions in tutoring. I always had the thought of, what if what I’m asking appears in the exam. I wanted to be as prepared as possible. That’s also something my Leaders’ Quest coach taught me – always ask questions because you never know what the answer might mean to you one day.” For some learners like Sereno Cupido and Rhonda Adams, inadequacy at school had threatened their dreams of studying Computer Science and Accounting respectively.
“For most of the year we had no Physics teacher, it was ridiculous. We would attend the Physics’ tutoring at Salesian Life Choices, then go to school the following week and teach our classmates what we had learned. This helped us even more because we would learn while we were teaching,” says Sereno.
Rhonda, who scored 75% in Physics in her final exams, says that knowing that she could rely on her tutor gave her confidence when she was preparing to write her exams, “I would not have been able to have taught myself the work from the textbooks. It was only because of the tutoring that I believe I passed the subject. It also felt great that I could help my peers who didn’t understand the work.” Leaders’ Quest knows the importance of preparing youth for their future and all trainings are aimed at developing the youth holisti-cally, so that they may be functioning, confident adults who thrive and not only survive.
As Wafeeqah, who is set to study a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Human Anatomy & Physiology specializing in Genetics, says that even though she would still describe herself as shy, she believes that the exposure she received at the organisation has helped her confidence. “The leadership training gave me a boost. I am a soft spoken person so I would often shy away from talking among lots of people. But the leadership training assisted me in finding my voice and making my opinion heard,” says Wafeeqah.
The Modderdam Dream Team as they’ve been called, are all ready to continue on the next stage of their life’s journey. Rhonda (Bcom Uct), Jamie-Lee Samuels (Dietetics UWC), Monique(Bsc UCT), Sereno (Computer Science UWC) and Wafeeqah (Bsc UCT) all agree that being part of the Salesian Life Choices family has instilled in them a desire to assist and uplift those around them, the same way they were uplifted by the organisation.
“We want to succeed and feel that we have the tools to do just that. But, we also want to take everything we’ve learned and use it to motivate, encourage and empower the youth in our communities,” concludes Jamie.