“Today, we gather here not just to celebrate academic achievements but to applaud the exceptional journey that each one of you has undertaken. As the top performers of your respective schools, you have not only showcased outstanding intelligence but have also demonstrated a unique set of qualities that will undoubtedly shape the future,” said Ald (Dr) Elna von Schlicht, Executive Mayor of the Cape Winelands District Municipality (CWDM) in her opening address to the class of 2023 at the Annual CWDM Top Achievers Awards Ceremony held at Rhenish Girls High School in Stellenbosch on Monday, 05 February 2024.
“Our Top Achievers Awards Ceremony stands as testament to the remarkable accomplishments of the highest achieving matriculants at all high schools in the district. On this night, we celebrate them along with their parents, teachers and principals,” the Mayor concluded.
This year, along with their certificates and gift bags, the class of 2023 was the first recipients of the Mayoral Study Aid Fund. Each recipient received a noteworthy study aid grant of R20 000, which will be transferred directly to their respective institutions or courses. The Mayoral Study Aid Fund aims to provide a beacon of hope, illuminating the path to higher education for exceptional achievers, thereby advancing the educational landscape of the Cape Winelands District.
The top three Grade 12 learners of 2023 in the Cape Winelands District are: 1st place – Melissa Müller from Rhenish Girls High School (also the country and province’s top learner); 2nd place – Lilly Hobbs, also from Rhenish Girls High School; and 3rd place – Milcah Visser from Paarl Girls High School.
The top three Grade 12 learners of 2023 in the Cape Winelands District are: 1st place – Melissa Müller from Rhenish Girls High School (also the country and province’s top learner) and tied in 2nd place is Milcah Visser from Paarl Girls High School and Lilly Hobbs, also from Rhenish Girls High School.
Müller encouraged the class of 2024 to find a healthy balance in their final year, “Buckle down and work hard; it will pay off, but also take in the moments and enjoy your final year.”
Two Special Mayoral Awards were presented as part of the awards. The Special Educator Recognition went to Mr Clemence Thomas, subject head and lead teacher for natural sciences and technology at Touwsrivier Primary School. “Mr Thomas, we celebrate and honour you for the exceptional achievements and positive impact on the education community and Touwsrivier as a whole,” the Mayor said.
Leeroy Chakanyuka, the top achiever from Franschhoek High School, received the Special Award for Most Resilient Learner. Leeroy faced challenges with language barriers and adapting after moving between South Africa and Zimbabwe in his formative years. By Grade 4 he had mastered English and excelled academically, driven by his desire for a better future. Despite setbacks, he achieved four subject distinctions and an aggregate of 79% in the NSC examinations – proof of his determination and resilience. This award is most deserving for extraordinary achievement despite challenging circumstances.
The Annual CWDM Top Achievers Awards Ceremony not only highlighted academic prowess, but also resilience and dedication. The Mayoral Study Aid Fund ensures that outstanding students such as Leeroy Chakanyuka can overcome obstacles and pursue higher education. Melissa Müller, Lilly Hobbs and Milcah Visser’s accomplishments inspire future generations, symbolising hope for educational advancement in the Cape Winelands District.