“The pandemic hardly affected me, contrary to popular belief it fit me to a T,” is what Kei Prior of St John’s College said after getting nine distinctions and an average of 94.1% in the 2020 Independent Examinations Board (IEB) matric exams.
“I enjoyed the freedom of being able to decide my own hours. I’m a bit of a night owl, and it was great to be able to study late into the night, without worrying about having to be up early in the morning,” said Prior.
The 18-year-old is among 126 boys who achieved a total of distinctions 357 distinctions between them.
The school achieved a 100% pass rate with nearly 98% of the class achieving bachelor’s degree passes.
Prior said that he is heading to the Wits University in a few weeks, where he wants to pursue a career in chemical engineering to fulfil his childhood dream of making a palpable and positive difference in the lives of South Africans by providing clean water.
When asked what inspired his choice of study, Prior cited the dire state of some parts of SA that did not have clean water.
“My ultimate goal is to build a career in water treatment and to use my love for all things science to make a palpable and positive difference in the lives of many South Africans,” Prior added.
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He said that he has not always been thee top achiever and considers himself as a late bloomer as he started focusing more on his studies when he got to grade 10.
“I spent my first few years at St John’s just cruising, and not really applying myself. But my teachers motivated me to try harder. They encouraged me to do better, because they knew I could.
“Soon I found myself really knuckling down and enjoying academics. I went into the final exams feeling positive, prepared and empowered. I know I’ve done the best I was able to. And that feels good,” he said.
Besides returning an excellent set of matric results, Kei said that he is an avid birder and was introduced to the sport by his grandparents.
Prior also said that he enjoyed being the first-team basketball player, and is very keen in fishing.
He said his advice to the class of 2021 is to take full advantage of all this year has to offer.
“Do as much as you can, and do the best you can. Otherwise you’re wasting your time and you’re letting down all the people who are invested in you. And have fun, too. Fun’s important. It releases the pressure,” he said.