Cathkin matrics push through challenges

Cathkin principal, Armand Anhuizen, celebrates with matriculant Liam White, who achieved a Bachelor’s pass and one distinction.

Even though they did not achieve the results they wanted, Cathkin High School’s 2023 matric class can be proud of themselves as they endured a year with many challenges.

So said principal Armand Anhuizen, while addressing the matriculants who came to collect their results on Friday January 19.

Mr Anhuizen said the year started off challenging for them, as former principal, Mervyn Arendse, died on the day the matric results for 2022 were announced.

A new school building is also in the process of being constructed on the current premises, so during the year, the pupils had to endure the noise from heavy machinery during class. Load shedding also had a big impact on teaching.

After Mr Arendse’s death, William Stockenstroom was appointed acting principal. Mr Stockenstroom retired at the end of July. Then Mr Anhuizen was appointed acting principal, and Adré Gordon acting deputy principal.

All the management changes also contributed to some instability during their Grade 12 year, Mr Anhuizen said.

“It’s been a very tough year – with the building renovations, load shedding and management changes – but you can be very proud of yourselves. We were hoping for a better pass rate. We were aiming for at least 80%, but considering the challenges, I think a 70.1% pass rate is not too bad. We had 10 Bachelor’s degree passes, 20 diploma passes and 20 higher certificate passes. I wish you all the best for your future. Take hold of the opportunities available to you. If you did not make it, remember there are options,” Mr Anhuizen told the matriculants.

Ms Gordon said she too, is proud of the results.

“Our first setback was the death of our principal. I am very proud of them. Some of us thought it (the results) would be worse,” she said.

In November last year, the Athlone News reported on Edward Heldsinger, 18, a Cathkin matriculant who received the most certificates at the school’s valedictory ceremony (Cathkin High matric pupil is a star achiever, Athlone News, November 1, 2023).

Edward was diagnosed with autism in Grade 8. On Friday, his anxious family members waited patiently to hear his results. They were elated to hear that Edward achieved a Bachelor’s pass and one distinction.

His grandmother, Marie Carolissen, 82, was driven to tears when she heard he passed.

Although Edward has not decided what to do yet, he has been approached with a bursary opportunity. For now, he is focused on getting his driver’s licence.

Liam White also achieved a Bachelor’s pass and one distinction. He is looking forward to starting his degree at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), but is waiting for confirmation after his provisional acceptance.

Western Cape Education MEC, David Maynier, congratulated the class of 2023 in the province and had encouraging words for those who failed.

In a media statement, Mr Maynier said: “For those candidates that did not achieve their desired results, there are options. I would encourage all learners who did not pass their exams not to give up and to continue doing whatever they can to complete Grade 12.

“We encourage all learners who did not achieve their desired marks to apply for a re-mark or re-check if they do not feel their results reflect their performance, or to write the exams in June. More information on these options is available on the Western Cape Education Department website.

“There are measures in place to receive counselling for anyone who is disappointed with their results, either by approaching their school, which will put them in touch with the relevant people in the district offices, or by phoning the Safe Schools Hotline at 0800 45 46 47.”

Melanie Heldsinger, the mother of Edward, 18, middle, and Grade 12 teacher, Raeez Rayner, check out his results.
Deputy principal Adré Gordon and principal Armand Anhuizen celebrate Edward Heldsinger’s pass.