Humble Stefanie is Vryheid High’s No.1 matric learner

Stefanie Lilje describes her matric year as the busiest, but also the best year of high school.


STEFANIE Lilje was taken aback last week when she received the news that she was Vryheid High School’s top matric achiever, having obtained an average of 89%.

“I wasn’t expecting it. It came as such a surprise. I thought it must be a mistake,” she admitted.

The shy teen had initially declined an interview when the Vryheid Herald began telling the stories of academic excellence that arose from the class of 2017. However, news of Stefanie’s outstanding accomplishment compelled friends, loved ones and members of the community to persuade Stefanie to reconsider.

Now, her story serves as a shining example of how hard work and focus, not necessarily inspired by a natural affinity toward academics, but driven by the tenacious determination to succeed, can pave the road to academic excellence.

“I didn’t like waking up early to go to school and I didn’t enjoy homework, but I worked hard and also tried to maintain a balance by making time for my friends, family and hobbies.”

Stefanie describes her matric year as the busiest, but also the best year of high school.

“I studied very hard for my trial exams, which really helped me. It meant that I had more time to go through past papers ahead of the finals. When it came to theory, it was enough to read through the text book until I could remember the content. When it came to maths and physics, I practiced as many examples as I could, finding that repetition was the key to mastering these subjects.

“After school, I was always very tired, so even though I did some light studying after dinner, I used my weekends to really study. I always made sure I had a good night’s sleep, and that helped.”

Stefanie advises that one’s matric year isn’t just about academics and says she remained balanced by spending quality time with her friends and making time for her hobbies.

“Don’t stress too much. Always have time for your hobbies and never stop doing what you enjoy,” is Stefanie’s advice to the class of 2018.

Stefanie enjoys playing piano, strumming on her guitar, singing, watching television and spending time with friends and family.

“At school, I was a part of the ACTS worship group. It was my favourite part of going to school. After we came together in prayer, I always felt good. I was also part of Interact.”

This year, Stefanie is moving to Pretoria where she will pursue a career in a field she is passionate about… animals.

“I have seen how the Guide Dog Association helps the blind, and how dogs are trained to help people with autism and I want to be able to use dogs to help people, especially the disabled,” said Stefanie, who enjoys a special bond with her 11-year-old sausage dog, Chomp.

Stefanie would like to thank her entire family for always supporting her. “I was confident that no matter what I achieved, they would be proud of me.”

Estella Naicker

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