A Grade 10 learner from Bjatladi Secondary School in the Segopje village outside Mankweng, Refentse Mamabolo was among four high school learners from Mankweng Circuit who recently attended the Harvard University’s Pre-College summer school in The United States organised by the University of Limpopo’s Rural Development and Innovation Hub in partnership with the circuit.
Refentse was exposed to three hours of intense tuition each day with courses such as financial markets included in the programme.
She also learned about the academic environment relating to the psychology of colour-blindness, classic literature from around the world, health and politics of low income Americans as well as science of happiness among others.
Together with other learners they were committed to a minimum of four hours of homework per day and participated in a diversity of co-curricular activities, including whale watching, a baseball match and museum visits as well as a social night.
Principal of the School, Molewane Chuene said Refentse put the school on the international map. “She has given our school exposure on the international stage. We are proud of her achievement. She has done us proud, she is a top performer at the school and role model to her peers. She is hard working and other learners can learn a lot from her,” Chuene said.
Refentse said she was happy to have been chosen by the University of Limpopo to participate in the summer school. “It was my first overseas trip. I learned a lot from the trip and the university. It was an eye opener and opportunity for me to explore other avenues. I wish I could have taken my classmates with so that they can learn how other institutions of higher learning operate. I was inspired and I want to apply at Harvard and study Paediatrics degree there. I was told by the lecturers at the university that if I work hard, I would get a scholarship.”
Refentse said the scholarship would open doors for young learners from rural communities to study abroad. “There are a lot of brilliant learners from rural schools in the province who have exceptional marks in all their subjects but they lack confidence. They want to confine themselves to the usual, they don’t want to try new things. They all want to study at local tertiary institutions and I am saying to them they must apply for bursaries and scholarships at these world renowned institutions. I believe nothing is impossible, I believe if we have graduates who are equipped with quality education they will contribute to economy of the country,” Refentse remarked.
Refentse has won numerous accolades in Mathematics and Physical Science since joining the school in 2017.
She is also a part time Information Communication Technology peer educator at the school. “I help fellow students with the latest trends of technology skills and innovation. This is an interesting field and during most of my classes I help learners to access to information through wireless networks, cell phones, and other communication mediums. I also have classes where I help those who are struggling with Mathematics and Physical Science because they are not easy subjects,” she said.
Story: Herbert Rachuene