A letter to Matrics

It seems as though you’ve worked your whole lives for this moment, and the results will be out soon. You may be feeling a combination of excitement, fear and anxiety while you await your final marks and finally take hold of that National Senior Certificate unlocking the door to your future. 

But perhaps your biggest achievement yet is how you successfully navigated yourself through the past two academic years amid a raging pandemic.

In your Grade 11 year, the second-most important in your schooling career, you found yourself in a once-in-a-generation scenario. The country went into lockdown, you feared for your loved ones and you took on additional responsibilities, all while adapting to a new way of learning and often missing out on valuable learning time.  

Then, in your Grade 12 year, a resurge happened and the “normal” you hoped to return to didn’t become a reality. Matric balls were missed, sports games were cancelled and you were given little freedom to see friends and family — but we educators have witnessed the growth in your emotional intelligence, compassion and responsibility during this time and we are proud.

Allow me to share one last life lesson with you before you read your results: No matter what your results are, you have a bright future ahead of you with many options available.

I hope you achieved everything you hoped to, but please do not despair if you did not. We live in a world filled with possibilities and there are many options available to you. If you did not pass, please don’t give up. Remember, there are many routes that can take you to your destination.

Consider rewriting matric — you don’t have to return to your old school if you are concerned about what people think. Look into the numerous online options available to you, including “adult matric” classes if you need to work part-time. The same goes for those who hoped for higher marks to get into a specific course: feel free to try again if that is an option you are open to.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with their mental health during this time, please contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Group as soon as possible on 011 234 4837.

Do not forget that you have bright futures ahead of you. We cannot wait to see how your generation changes our South Africa for the better.

Kind regards

John Shaw, chief executive of Teneo Online School

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John Shaw
John Shaw is the chief executive of Teneo Online School

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