Sea Point pupil bags top spot

Principal Michael Gates, left, and deputy principal: head of academics Susan Schnetler, right, congratulate Justine Crook-Mansour on her achievement, at Rustenburg Girls School while her fellow matrics and their parents look on.

Sea Point resident from Rustenburg Girls’ High School Justine Crook-Mansour, 18, is the top matric pupil at a Quintile 5 school, having achieved a matric aggregate of 97.8%.

Justine obtained 100% for history, 99% for maths, 98% for French, 98% for physical sciences, 96% for English, 96% for Afrikaans and 96% for life orientation.

She could not believe it when her name was called out last week at the national matric awards hosted by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga in Midrand last Thursday.

“I did not expect to do so well because my matric year was an extremely challenging one, not only in terms of the workload but also because of certain family problems. I feel very proud of myself for having been awarded this honour,” Justine said.

Justine, who was on holiday in London with her mum Glynis when the Department of Basic Education tried to reach her on January 1, was flown back home by the department so that she could be at the awards ceremony in Midrand on January 3.

Her mother arranged with a friend for her school uniform to be flown up with another award recipient and as she had donated her school shoes to charity after the matric exams, the travel agency organised her new school shoes. Justine managed to fly back to Cape Town last Friday to visit her school to receive her results and celebrate with her teachers and fellow pupils.

Even though Justine had been a dedicated performer at her school over the past few years, she prepared thoroughly throughout the year to excel in her final matric exams.

“My preparation involved a consistent effort throughout my matric year. I made sure I kept up to date with all new content. I prepared thoroughly for tests so by the time exams came, I could focus on doing lots of practice, particularly for maths and physics,” she said.

Justine, however, is much more than a top academic pupil, she also excelled on the sports field, having represented the school in cross country and tennis.

She also played club and school hockey from Grade 8 and was part of the first team that toured Belgium and the Netherlands in 2017.

Principal Michael Gates said the school was proud of Justine’s achievements.

“She was driven and completely dedicated to achieving the high standards that she set for herself, not only in academics but on the sports field and in achieving a Gold Standard in the President’s Award,” said Mr Gates.

Justine gives her mum a lot of credit for helping her through her matric year and she is also grateful for the opportunities provided to her by the school.

Glynis Crook said she was really proud of Justine.

“But, like any mom, not only for her matric results. She’s curious and determined and interested in lots of things. She’s also passionate about sport, particularly hockey and has been committed to community service through Interact, junior Rotary and the President’s Award,” she said.

Justine plans to study astrophysics at the University of Cape Town. “I hope that one day I will be able to conduct my own research,” she says.