A series of tests, interviews and group work later Elica Primary School Grade 7 learner, Dimakatso Serite has earned an all-expenses paid Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls scholarship and is set to join the institution in Gauteng next year.
The 13-year-old from Kalkspruit in Ga-Maraba had to apply for the scholarship and was then chosen to undergo academic tests and psychological tests as well as interviews. Her family was also interviewed and Dimakatso was informed on 31 October that she was among the select group that won the scholarship. She will commence with her secondary education at the academy next year. Dimakatso explained that she has to get good marks in Grade 8 and 9 to secure a further scholarship for Grades 10 to 12. According to her, she would have to obtain a minimum of 65% in both English and Mathematics to continue learning at the academy.
During Elica Primary School’s annual prize giving ceremony at Bolivia Estate on Friday evening, Dimakatso was honoured with a trophy for her achievement in front of a large audience. She was also afforded a platform to deliver a speech in which she said without education there was no difference between humans and animals. Education helps one to tackle tricky challenges with ease and that is why it is important for youth to get lost in the books, Dimakatso explained. She was named Grade 7A Top Learner and Overall Top Learner in Grade 7.
“I am excited about the scholarship. This is an all-expenses paid opportunity for me to attend Grades 8 and 9 at the academy. I have to maintain or increase my academic performance to do my matric at the institution. In the contract it is clearly stated that they will ensure that all the learners study in a conducive environment. I promise that I will do my best and acquire distinctions in all the subjects to stay at the academy. I think this is a way to earn a bursary to further my higher learning studies at Harvard University,” Dimakatso remarked.
Elica’s deputy head girl went on to outline that she wished to study either astronomy or archaeology as she indicated that she wants to make history by ‘discovering Queen Nefertiti’ as she has never been discovered. Dimakatso emphasised that she loves history as she was interested in knowing what happened before she was born.
Dimakatso said she wanted to take part in a lot of activities at the academy such as debate, soccer and hip-hop dancing. She used to participate in netball and school choir and reached Eisteddfod regionals in Gauteng last year were she received Prestige in Reading and Poetry. She was also invited to Eisteddfod national gala evening in Benoni which was a session meant to honour and congratulate all regional winners. Dimakatso reiterated that her sister, Bridget Serite (27) was her role model and inspiration as she is hard working and always ensures that she gets all the nice things life has to offer.
“My sister is always positive even when things are not happening as she had planned. She always makes it a point that I get everything a young girl can dream of. I want to be like Oprah Winfrey because she grew up working hard to improve a girl child’s life. She is just an amazing woman and I wish all the learners at the academy can excel in their studies in her honour,” Dimakatso said.
Her proud mother, Florence Serite explained that the family was used to having Dimakatso around but they will be forced to learn to live without her for a certain period.
She urged her daughter to continue having respect for and fear of God. According to Florence, Dimakatso has been active since her childhood. She added that she lives up to her name which means ‘Surprise’ as she mentioned that Dimakatso is a fast learner and the family is proud of her.
Story and photo: ENDY SENYATSI