Despite the challenges of teachers working under pressure, lessons being interupted by gang violence, and having no private space to study at home, Xaviar Poole still managed to achieve three distinctions in the 2016 matric exam.
The former Silverstream High School pupil, who will be studying towards a BComm degree at the University of Cape Town (UCT) this year, said he would never have been able to do so well if it were not for his team of dedicated teachers, and the support of family and friends.
Xavier achieved distinctions for English, business studies and Computer Applications Technology (CAT), but getting there involved a lot of hard work and sacrifice.
“Our teachers did a good job. They taught us valuable life lessons, not just academics. And they went out of their way to help us. Our head of department, Claude Damonse, is strict and would go to your house if you were absent. Our teachers also made sure we had something to eat – some even giving their lunch to us. One teacher also cooked us pots of food from her own pocket.
“There are so many others I can mention who really went the extra mile, like our life orientation teacher, Pauline Robyn, and our maths teacher, Zainul Abedeen Ismail, who is my mentor and a man I look up to. My church, Lily Ministries, also offered us great support and they prayed for all the matriculants of Manenberg. My family and friends have also been great support,” Xaviar said.
And because of the support he received, Xaviar wants to plough back into his community by tutoring high school pupils.
“What also helped me is that I attended the University of Cape Town’s Students’ Health and Welfare Centres Organisation’s (SHAWCO) tutoring programme, and my sister attended the Step Aboard tutoring programme, which is run by Pastor Sam Henkeman, and is based at The Leadership College in Manenberg. People might think there is no potential in Manenberg, but seeing how these programmes helped us, I am now looking forward to be a tutor at the Step Aboard programme,” he said.
His mother, Melda Poole, is naturally proud of her second-born son. “I will give my support wherever I can. I believe he can go very far. Nothing is too difficult for those who really want it – this is what his school’s Latin motto means – and I believe in that. Every child needs someone to help them, and I have supported not just my own children, but others as well. I also pushed Xaviar to do his best. I told him early last year, that he can dislike me all he wants, but his future was at stake, and that’s why I was so hard on him sometimes,” Ms Poole said.