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St Benedict’s College celebrates incredible Matric results and 45 years of a 100% pass rate.


Johannesburg, South Africa – The 2019 National Senior Certificate results are out, and St Benedict’s is celebrating an impressive set of marks from the Class of 2019 with a distinction ratio of almost two per student. While some exceptional marks were recorded – three St Benedict’s boys achieved averages over 90% and five boys are among the country’s highest achievers – perhaps what’s even more remarkable is that this year marks the 45th consecutive year the school has achieved a 100% pass rate.

The College Headmaster, Dave Jeffrey, says, “The class of 2019 has performed admirably in the National Senior Certificate exams. While we acknowledge the excellent results of our top achievers, I believe that our greatest success is the 100% pass rate and the high proportion of boys who achieved a Bachelor Degree pass – 96.85%. Our strategy at the College has always been one where we invest many hours of extra tuition with each and every student to help him realise his full potential, and the net result is every one of our pupils has qualified for tertiary studies.” 

“This approach has paid off, and we are delighted at how our passionate and dedicated teachers not only educated – but inspired our boys to go beyond the ordinary to achieve the very best they were each capable of. Of course, we cannot take away from the hard work and the commitment of our young men in excelling in these final exams and the support they received from their parents,” says Jeffrey.

Two students who really shone in their finals and both achieved an incredible nine distinctions each include: Yashin Govender, who achieved an average of 91.6% and Julio Martins who finished just behind him on 90.1%. The entire St Benedict’s community congratulates these high achievers who after years of preparing and working toward these crucial final exams, are acutely aware that the results of their labour this year could greatly determine their future success.

Govender who is passionate about IT and will study Actuarial Sciences at WITS this year, says, “Keep setting goals, in fact, set ambitious goals because that’s what’s going to push you to succeed. I learnt a lot of problem-solving skills during my time at St Benedict’s, but perhaps the most significant contributor to my success is that I learnt the value of perseverance, dedication and hard work. I’ve built up a great work ethic over the last 10 years at St Benedict’s and that will serve me well in my future.”

As a school, St Benedict’s is really strong in IT with an average of 83.85% with 18 distinctions from 27 boys!

More than just an academic, Martins received the Bishop Orsmond Shield [also called the Bennies Boy Award] in 2019, and was recognised as a student who embodies the values of a Bennies Boy of integrity, discipline, charity and passion.

He says he will always be indebted to St Benedict’s adding, “I learnt teamwork, time management and developed a work ethic that enabled me to put my head down and work through anything tough. I encourage those working towards their finals in 2020 not to give up when faced with a problem; work hard to solve it.”

St Benedict’s top Gr 12 student, Karl Etsebeth, notched up eight distinctions and an enviable average of 92.6% and is ranked on the IEB’s Commendable Achievers List (Top 5% nationally in five subjects and a distinction in Life Orientation).

Positive about his future and ready to take on the challenge of a Computer Engineering degree at TUKS, Etsebeth says, “Because I was passionate about everything I did, I excelled, but it was determination, which I learnt from rowing at Bennies that taught me to push and work harder towards the achievement of my goals. If I wasn’t determined, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.”

Andy Li and Joshua Kelly also banked eight distinctions with equally awe-inspiring averages of 88.7% and 88.3% respectively. Daniel Kilian achieved seven distinctions and an average of 85.7% and Head Boy Keegan O’Reilly, finished with six distinctions and 87.3%.

As the outgoing Head Boy, O’Reilly says, “I’m really excited to go out and be successful by making a difference in the world. I’m happy that I’ve done so well in matric, but the main goal now is to go on to bigger things.”

When reviewing the school’s performance against national benchmarks – five St Benedict’s boys were in the top 1% in one or more subjects, including Karl Etsebeth (Information Technology, Life Orientation and Physical Sciences); Julio Martins (Information Technology and Physical Sciences); Andy Li (Life Orientation); Joshua Kelly (Mathematics) and Cade Joseph (Mathematical Literacy).

Turning out high achievers is nothing new to St Benedict’s, and since 1962, when the school raised its first 16 boys to matriculation, it has produced great sportsmen, advocates, judges, businessmen, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and overall values-based men who have truly contributed to this country. The school has an impressive hall of fame with past pupils like Ramon di Clemente (Class of ‘93) who went on to become the National Rower and Olympic Medalist he is today; Gerry Thomas (Class of ’89) is Krispy Kreme South Africa’s Managing Director; Terence Creamer (Class of ‘89), is an Editor at Creamer Media and Roberto Riccardi (Class of ‘89) is a Legal Counsel and the Co-founder of CHOC Cows – cancer charity which has raised over R44M in 10 years. Miles Kubheka (Class of ‘94), is a visionary Chief Entrepreneurship Officer and founder of Vuyo’s restaurants.

When one looks at the plethora of boys who have graduated from St Benedict’s, it is clear that the school doesn’t produce one-dimensional characters. The school doesn’t produce followers but leaders and change-makers and if history is to be believed – this will hold true for the 2019 matriculants.

“There are many other old boys who have gone through the gates of St Benedict’s who are making a difference in the world around them. It’s true to say that the success we observe in these old boys could very likely be the success that our Class of 2019 will experience, and this is our wish for them. History says that we have stood the test of time and the evidence of our success as a school is embodied in our old boys. We believe that past success is a predictor of future success and we feel really positive about the future of the Class of 2019,” says Jeffrey.

In closing, Jeffrey adds, “Our matriculants are on the cusp of the next chapter of their lives. It’s an exciting new journey, and we believe they have been well equipped to move forward with confidence as they become the trailblazers of South Africa’s future success. We wish them all well as they move ahead – knowing they will create their own bright futures.”

Sources: St Benedict’s College 
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