“I never expected this. I was really surprised when the education department contacted me to attend the function for the top matrics in North West. And even at the award ceremony, I did not for a moment think I would be number one.”
Eloise Shelley, Hartbeespoort High School’s head girl for 2021, is North West’s top matric achiever who passed with seven distinctions and a 95% average pass mark. “During the ceremony, I did not receive any prizes for subjects, so when my name was announced as the top achiever, the overwhelming emotion was disbelief. I knew I had worked very hard last year, but I didn’t think I would get this far. I feel honoured and privileged. This is an absolute blessing,” says Eloise.
Eloise will be studying medicine this year but she still has to make up her mind where! She has been accepted at the Witwatersrand University, the University of Pretoria, University of Stellenbosch, as well as the University of Cape Town that also offered her the Vice-Chancellor bursary.
“At this stage, I lean towards the University of Cape Town. It has a brilliant medical school with exceptional facilities. I have to decide in the next couple of days.”
She did not always want to be a medical doctor. “Up until Grade 10, I had no idea what I wanted to do. There was a stage when I considered architecture and then occupational therapy… I never even thought of medicine, but then I got interested in biology and here I am. I always wanted to make the biggest difference and I think in this field I will be able to satisfy this need.”
Although she worked hard throughout her high school career, she lead a balanced life. “I used to play netball, did public speaking, took part in the revue and was very involved in school activities as part of my head girl duties.”
Eloise has a brother 10 years older than her. “I’m a laatlammetjie’, she laughs. Mother Corne says Eloise has been a hard worker since she was small. “We never had to push her to do her homework or study. She has such motivation and discipline. We are so proud of her,” Corne says.
“I wouldn’t say motivation. Motivation is a feeling and one cannot always rely on feelings. I relied on my inherent discipline. I believe self-doubt should not impact hard work, but hard work will always impact self-doubt.”