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Grade 12s Pheladi Dikgale and Disego Mogale are Capricorn High School’s top achievers of last year who also happen to be best friends that share everything from studying to secret elbow nudges.

Top results thanks to friendship

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Not only are Pheladi Dikgale and Disego Mogale Capricorn High School’s (CHS) Grade 11 top achievers of last year, they also just happen to be best friends.
The two 17-year-olds, now in Grade 12, scooped two trophies each and several awards during CHS’s academic prize giving based on learners’ 2017 results, which took place last week.
Pheladi received the Paul Adams Memorial Trophy for best all round achievement in Grade 11 and shared the Hinds Trophy for the highest marks in Afrikaans in Grade 11 with Tebogo Molekwa. She also received a Pro Eruditione award for achieving honours for scholarship, a silver medallion for academic achievement, and a Top 5 academic order of merit.
Disego received the Edgars Trophy for most outstanding academic learner and the Sanliikho Trophy for most outstanding physical science learner in Grade 11. She was awarded a Pro Eruditione for achieving honours for scholarship, a silver medallion for academic achievement and a subject prize for English Home Language.
They say they have been best friends for nearly four years. As with many best friends, they have a lot in common. Both of them are really serious about their academics and their favourite subject is physics. Disego also has a love for accounting and says she would like to study commerce or engineering after school while Pheladi would like to study actuarial science or mechatronics engineering, which is a multidisciplinary field of science that includes a combination of mechanical engineering, electronics, and computer, telecommunications, systems and control engineering.
Both of them are on the debate team, with Disego being captain of the team. “I love debating. It gives me the ability to be articulate, to really be able to communicate, and to think critically on my feet,” Disego says.
They are also part of a University of Witwatersrand academic enrichment programme in mathematics and science known as the Wits Targeting Talent Programme. “We participate in the programme every school holiday, and it definitely gives us an edge,” Pheladi says.
Their study methods are completely different. Disego likes listening to classical music when she studies. “And I talk to myself! It helps me to put things into my own words, especially with physics. I also write a lot of notes and summaries.” Her favourite study snack is fruit.
Pheladi says she also writes lots of notes and they both prefer studying in the early morning hours. “I watch a lot of YouTube videos on my subjects and I do revision by recording myself reading my notes and then play them back,” she explains. Her favourite study snack is chocolate.
They list time management and the right friendships as being crucial to achieving the best academic results possible.
However, they are not all work and no play, and certainly not dull. They have an upbeat energy when they are together that communicates itself to those in their presence. They both love reading in their spare time. Disego favours mythology and historical books as well as watching DVDs while Pheladi enjoys reading books that she decribes as light and entertaining. She also loves jogging and other exercise.
They say the advantages to their friendship is that they help each other realise when they are slacking off. “We learn a lot from each other and have an excellent support system in each other, and of course, we do like to compete… just a little bit!” they both agree as they laugh together.
Asked whether they plan to continue their close friendship next year by attending the same university, they both laugh and say simultaneously “Our parents want us to!” as they nudge each other’s elbows, an action that has a special meaning to them, one which they do not want to share.

Story and photo: KAREN VENTER
>>karen@observer.co.za