Top pupil surprises with seven distinctions

Vista High School principal Charlotte Little, the schools top achiever Nugh Samsodien and his father, Zayd Samsodien.

There was a sigh of relief at Vista High School in Bo-Kaap as the school improved its matric pass rate by 15.7% in 2018 to 79%.

This was after recording a 28.1% drop to 63.3% in 2017, down from 91.4% in 2016.

The star of their matric class of 2018 was Bo-Kaap resident, Nugh Samsodien, 17, who earned seven distinctions.

The staff and the principal beamed with pride as Nugh and other the pupils collected their matric results last Friday, January 4. Principal Charlotte Little said she decided to take matters into her own hands and taught the Grade 12s English.

She said the pupils encountered a lot of challenges such as construction taking place near the school, financial constraints, and the absence of teachers, with their business studies teacher leaving, and their life sciences teacher being dismissed.

“That is not easy for matriculants to lose teachers for these key subjects, that is why even those who didn’t make it, I advocate for them to rewrite these subjects. If Nugh can get an A, then it’s possible for everyone to pass,” she said.

Ms Little described Nugh as an introvert.

“He’s a hard worker, a gentle giant who will reserve his opinion but when you ask him, he will engage and it will show that he’s been absorbing the information,” she said.

Ms Little said she knew Nugh would do well but she didn’t expect seven distinctions.

“He’s an intelligent boy and a hard worker, but I’m really surprised at the seven distinctions. His father is on the SGB. He actually cried when he saw his son’s results. Our physics teacher got his A for the first time and he couldn’t stop holding Nugh because of the A,” she said.

Nugh said he was home-schooled before coming to Vista in Grade 10.

He’s been offered conditional places at both Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town to study medicine.

He said he also didn’t expect to achieve seven distinctions. “I tend to imagine and expect the worst and I’ve been having nightmares since December of getting bad marks and I’m still shocked,” he said.

“I had a poster in my room that detailed my a dream to be in medical school but I removed it a few weeks ago when I thought the dream was not possible.” He said he had no holiday last year as he put in the hard work.

“During the holidays I was attending extra classes. The support I got from my teachers made me. I’m a lazy person but I decided to buckle up last year. My mother motivated me and she always wants the best for us and it was that motivation that made me achieve this.”

Nugh said it was not easy transitioning from being homeschooled to joining a mainstream school. “

At home, you’re alone, isolated and you’re not very social, it was a big change for me from learning alone to now coming to a whole social cluster, the transitioning was not easy,” he said.

Nugh’s father, Zayd Samsodien, said he couldn’t be more proud of his son. “He told me to tone down my excitement and I told him I could never. I know the hard work and the effort he’s put it to achieve this and I’m ecstatic. I’m proud of my son,” he said.

Nugh encouraged this year’s Grade 12 pupils to plan ahead and work hard so they don’t have regrets when it’s time for results.If you have something to do, do it now, do it as soon as possible, procrastination is lack of determination,” he said.