The Cape Navigator

Seaside Community Newspaper


Celebrating Academic Excellence and Resilience: Annual CWDM Top Achievers Awards Ceremony

Michael Hawthorne

STELLENBOSCH – The Cape Winelands District Municipality (CWDM) recently hosted the Annual Top Achievers Awards Ceremony at Rhenish Girls High School, acknowledging the outstanding achievements of the class of 2023. The event not only recognized academic brilliance but also celebrated resilience and dedication, embodying hope for educational progress in the Cape Winelands District.

Ald (Dr) Elna von Schlicht, Executive Mayor of CWDM, commended the top performers from various schools, stating, “Today, we gather here not just to celebrate academic achievements but to applaud the exceptional journey that each one of you has undertaken. As the top performers of your respective schools, you have not only showcased outstanding intelligence but have also demonstrated a unique set of qualities that will undoubtedly shape the future.”

The highlight of the ceremony was the announcement of the top three Grade 12 learners of 2023 in the Cape Winelands District:

  1. Melissa Müller from Rhenish Girls High School secured 1st place, also claiming the title of the country and province’s top learner.
  2. Lilly Hobbs, also from Rhenish Girls High School, secured the 2nd place.
  3. Milcah Visser from Paarl Girls High School secured the 3rd place.

Melissa Müller, who encouraged the class of 2024 to find a healthy balance in their final year, emphasized, “Buckle down and work hard; it will pay off, but also take in the moments and enjoy your final year.”

In a significant move, the class of 2023 became the first recipients of the Mayoral Study Aid Fund. Each recipient received a noteworthy study aid grant of R20,000, aimed at illuminating the path to higher education for exceptional achievers and advancing the educational landscape of the Cape Winelands District.

The ceremony also included two Special Mayoral Awards. Mr. Clemence Thomas, subject head and lead teacher for natural sciences and technology at Touwsrivier Primary School, received the Special Educator Recognition for his exceptional achievements and positive impact on the education community. Leeroy Chakanyuka, the top achiever from Franschhoek High School, received the Special Award for Most Resilient Learner, overcoming language barriers and achieving academic excellence despite challenging circumstances.

Leeroy’s story symbolizes the spirit of determination and resilience, having faced obstacles due to language barriers and relocations between South Africa and Zimbabwe in his formative years. Despite setbacks, he achieved four subject distinctions and an aggregate of 79% in the NSC examinations.

The Annual CWDM Top Achievers Awards Ceremony not only highlights academic prowess but also underscores the importance of resilience and dedication in the journey towards higher education. The Mayoral Study Aid Fund ensures that outstanding students, such as Leeroy Chakanyuka, can overcome obstacles and pursue their dreams. Melissa Müller, Lilly Hobbs, and Milcah Visser’s accomplishments serve as an inspiration for future generations, symbolizing hope for educational advancement in the Cape Winelands District.


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