The Western Cape is celebrating the top matric in the country, former Rustenburg Girl’s High pupil Justine Crook-Mansour. Justine achieved 96% and above for all her subjects, the highest being a 100% mark in history. She was honoured at a special breakfast with the Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga last week. Justine says it’s not something she ever expected.
“When I found out that is was invited to Pretoria to go to the awards ceremony I was in disbelief. I knew I was going to do well, but I didn’t expect I was going to do this well…all the top achievers’ marks are very close, and it’s very hard to be ranked among the top achievers, but I was definitely very happy to be there.”
Justine was in fact in France visiting her father’s family when she got the call from the Basic Education Department, who promptly booked her a ticket on the next flight back to SA. Her father, who lived in France, sadly passed away in July, just before her preliminary exams, but with the support of her mother she managed to put her head down and achieved the nation’s most outstanding results.
“It was obviously a very difficult time for me but I just tried to move forward and work hard, and I tried to continue doing the things that I enjoyed such as playing sport which helped me de-stress and get through the tough period.”
After being accepted at UCT and obtaining the prestigious Allan Gray scholarship, Justine says she is leaning towards pursuing a career in astrophysics.
“I’ve always been a very curious person, and I know I wanted to go into something to do with science and maths, because I like working with numbers. I’m not exactly sure the exact moment where it sparked my interest, but one of the significant moments that helped me make that decision was when I visited the Southern African Large Telescope a few year back with my mom and we watched stars, and I knew from then that astrophysics was something that really interested me. I’m really interested in being part of innovations in that field, looking to the future.”
Rustenburg Girls’ High School Principal Michael Gates has nothing but praise for the alum.
“We as a school are immensely proud of Justine’s excellent results. She was driven and completely dedicated to achieving the high standards that she set for herself, not only in academics, but on the sports field and in achieving a Gold Standard in the President’s Award. Justine has made full use of the learning opportunities offered to her, even when undergoing personal struggles. This is indicative of the success she will achieve when she sets her mind to it. We wish her happiness as she builds her future on these very sound foundations. Justine is confident, determined, self-disciplined and an exceptional academic. She is a talented problem solver, with exceptional insight and analytical skills.”
Justine also has some sound advice for the 2019 Matric cohort.
“For me the most important thing that I advise other people is balance. Don’t overwork, because by the end of the year you’ll be too tired. Matric is a very long year, you kind of need to pace yourself. Finding the study method that works for you is very important, whether it’s talking out loud or whatever, and also to stay organised.”
Watch this space world, because for this young woman the future is in the stars.