I want to start off with a message for the 2024 Matric class… Enjoy your final year, you’re going to be experiencing the last of lasts, and these are memories that you’ll cherish forever.
These encouraging words are from Melissa Müller, from Rhenish Girls’ High School in Stellenbosch, who on Friday was named the country’s top 2023 matric pupil out of the 717 377 candidates who sat for the National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams last year.
“My best advice is to stay up to date with your school work, so that you can identify concepts that you’re struggling with early on and ask for help when needed,” she continued.
Boasting seven distinctions and an overall average of 97.6%, Melissa – who got 100% for maths and accounting respectively, as well as 99% for physical and life science – intends using her intellect and initiative to make the world a better place.
The 18-year-old also found time and energy to be on the school’s first-team hockey and water polo teams, and served on the school’s learner council and was part of its academic portfolio.
Melissa was among the 34 matric pupils welcomed by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, as they gathered for the class of 2023 congratulatory breakfast last Thursday in Randburg.
She told Bolander what her future plans are, when we caught up with her at the beginning of what must have been a euphoric weekend.
“In 2024 I will be studying Mechatronic Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch.
“This is the start of an exciting journey for me, in which I hope to test both my practical and problem solving skills in and outside of the classroom.
“After completion of my undergraduate degree, I hope to further my studies in the field of Biomedical Engineering, where I believe that I can make a difference by creating innovative, life-saving medical solutions that are accessible to more people in our country,” she added.
She encourages the current pupils in the 2024 matric class to enjoy what will be a jam-packed year, and to utilise support systems during what is often an overwhelming academic year.
Melissa’s mother, Lucille, is a multimedia advisor, graphic designer and video editor at the Centre for Learning Technologies at Stellenbosch University, and part of the Hybrid Learning team.
Her father, André, works for a listed company on the JSE, Quantum Foods of which he is the Chief Financial Officer.
Younger sister Nicola is in Grade 9 at Rhenish Girls’ High School (also an A-candidate learner), a caring and compassionate person who aspires to become a psychiatrist one day.