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reflections on matric 2020

BY Azraa Rockman

Reflections on Matric 2020 - A message from the Head Girl, Azraa Rockman:
From what could only be seen as the ashes of our final year, the Matric Class of 2020 has risen far above all possible expectations. While noticeable changes have taken place, both within ourselves and what is clear to the eye, our high hopes for a remarkable year has only grown, as what anyone would expect from such a resilient Class.
A little bit over two months have passed since our welcoming of the “new normal” to our school life. Finally being able to step out of bed with an aim in mind – as opposed to our Lockdown routine consisting of waiting for just the right time to change out of our daytime pyjamas into our nighttime pyjamas—we were given the opportunity to prove ourselves and make what was left of our year count more than ever before.
“I immediately started thinking about what I was looking forward to prior to the ordeal we are currently faced with,” says Robyn Minnaar, upon sharing one of her coping mechanisms on the first day back at school. “Thinking about putting my pen down for the last time after writing my final exam is what is driving me to do my best now.”
Others among us have a more long-term goal in mind. “I want to be able to tell my grandchildren that I passed Matric, even in the midst of a pandemic,” shares Anda Mbola, topping off her wish with a winning smile. “I think a bit of a bump in the road was just what we needed to remind us of how desperately we want the prize ahead of us.”
It becomes even starker, however, that this little bump has been a bit more wounding to some than it has been to others. Undoubtedly, many Matrics were reminded of the uncertainty that had come along with the beginning the second volume of our academic year.
“This is, of course, the human response to anything that deviates from the normal,” Miss Potgieter offers. “Here we are in the midst of a situation that is novel as the coronavirus itself, and just by looking at my English class, I can tell that a new bout of worry resides in them that was never there before.” Miss Pot goes on by saying that she truly misses the homely atmosphere that pre-coronavirus English lessons with her class allowed. “I do know, however, that even through all of this, this year’s Matrics will rise to the occasion. I just hope that they realise their worth and understand that they have the ability to overcome anything that seems to be putting their progression on a standstill.”
And in the weeks that followed, we managed to prove Miss Potgieter’s theory to be correct. Even with ever-looming Trial Examinations at our doorstep, we seemed to have been able to more or less keep up with the influx of SBA tasks and control test dates. Mrs Gerber was even thrilled to announce that her Matric History classes have been doing exceptionally well with handing in outstanding tasks and projects, which surely leaves the impression that things are in fact looking up for us.
Stepping out of the academic spectrum of our school lives, our counselling psychologist, Miss Nerine Loock has also been making extensive contact with us as to ensure that our psychosocial well-being is being tended to as well. Adding our Matric 40 Days celebration to the list of things to look forward to has also raised our spirits considerably. Even while keeping the concept of social distancing in the front of our minds, there is no doubt that the Matric Class of 2020 will make this day .
As our days zoom past us, however, it seems as if we are becoming more and more aware of just how close the final chapter of school life is. Even with each passing day following the same routine as the next, each lesson learned is slightly different. I think that it is now more than ever, while reunited with the people we had previously been deprived from, that we have been able to learn more about ourselves and those around us. We have learned that our teachers have our backs more than we had ever believed possible. We have learned that be it a teacher or a learner, we all have fears, we all have things that bring us joy, and best of all, we all matter to someone else. And as Matrics especially, we have learned that, yes, it is okay to not be okay sometimes, but what matters is what we do about it and how we rise from the ashes to prove to ourselves that it is in fact possible.
I always like to remember Min Yoongi’s words upon addressing the Graduates of 2020: “One small person can dream the biggest dream, paint the largest picture, and make endless possibilities come true.” My fellow Matrics, I wish to offer you these words of comfort for you to keep close to your heart in times when you feel as if your situation makes you feel worthless. Although our troubles may not seem to size up in comparison to someone else’s, whether big or small, your experiences matter as much as you do. Because these are the experiences that continue to gradually shape you into the person of your near future, the person who will be painting her own story for others to marvel at years down the line.
Although the road is still bumpy, I know that we would have achieved ways to endure these hiccups in due time. Having endured these few months is a testament to that. Thanking all our parents for remaining by our side and being our first source of comfort when we need it most, and our teachers for easing us through these unforeseen circumstances with endless patience. As always, I would love to thank my Matric Class for making each day that passes another one to store in my memory. I look forward to learning more and more about you all, even if our days together are numbered. Remember that if ever we should look back, it should be to see how far we have come.
But for now, I look forward to standing with you all at the finish line.

 August 13, 2020
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2020
Azraa Rockman

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