Dylan Tasdhary is the current top academic in Jeppe’s grade 12 group, which is, he says, going according to his plan for this year.
He was number one on the top 10 list announced at the school’s online assembly on Tuesday and, although he doesn’t believe the actual position means that much, he is thrilled that he is on track to be as good as he can possibly be.
“I’ll never forget Mr Leathem telling us that when we look back we should be able to see that we were the best possible versions of ourselves and that is what I’m striving for.”
Dylan is going for a full house of distinctions at the end of the year, but more than that, he wants to end up as one of the top three in matric in the province in the final exams. “I’ve estimated what my average needs to be to achieve that and although I narrowly missed it at the end of term one, I know where I went wrong and I can fix that.”
The national lockdown and the closing of the school has, Dylan says, complicated matters but he is still determined to achieve what he has set out to do. “We are carrying on with work via the internet and it’s been going quite well. The teachers have gone to a lot of trouble to make sure we have the content and some of them have presented it brilliantly,” he said.
It’s difficult, though, to get to grips with the work at the level that I want to without personal interaction with the teachers. I can handle the difficult topics, but it takes longer and I miss the opportunities to engage with people who have a deeper understanding of the content. The teachers are available to talk to, of course, but it’s not really the same as being face to face.”
Staying at home has been good so far, Dylan says. “I don’t think my mental state has been too badly affected. It’s been great to have more time to talk to my parents than I usually have, and technology has allowed me to keep in contact with my friends on a daily basis.”
He does miss the physical interaction. “A group of us had decided that we were going to play hockey this year, in one of the lower teams, and experience the fun of all being in a team together. That may not happen now, which is a pity.”
Still, he has plenty of time now and has been able to read and do some in-depth thinking. “I’m missing the chance to talk about that with my teachers,” however.