Top marks for Constantia Hills teen

Gary Allen with his mother, Charleen.

Being consistent, paying attention in class and making sure you understand the work is how Rondebosch Boys’ High School pupil, Gary Allen, says he achieved second place in the 2019 National Senior Certificate matric exams.

The 18-year-old from Constantia Hills said he received a phone call inviting him to Johannesburg for the results announcement by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Tuesday January 7 and while he had a feeling he had done well, he assumed it was for maths.

“It was such a surreal moment being among all the officials. We were treated like celebrities,” he said.

Gary flew back on Wednesday to celebrate and receive his official results with his classmates.

He averaged 96.3% for his subjects and received nine distinctions.

Gary said his father, Spencer, had challenged him in Grade 9 to take up accounting as an extra subject and to see how far he could take it.

“I had my friend tutor me, and we challenged each other over the years. I was very pleased that I managed to achieve a distinction for this subject,” he said.

Afrikaans proved to be a challenge for him, and, after receiving about 70% for the subject in Grade 10, he realised he would need to up his game if he wanted a good matric result.

“During our drives to school, my mom and I would be going over Afrikaans words. I worked hard on my vocabulary and essays, and my marks gradually increased, and for my finals I got 94%, which I was very happy about.”

His favourite subject, he said, was a toss-up between maths and physics, as he enjoyed the conceptual part of the subjects instead of just knowing the work.

It was, however, not all work for Gary, who said it was important to him to remain balanced this year but also to have fun and unwind. Some of his matric-year highlights include the SNL skit they had put on, the matric dance and working on his techno music, which he composes himself.

Gary will be studying electrical engineering at Stellenbosch University this year and living in residence, which he is very excited about, but he admits that he will miss his family.

“I’m excited to be independent and to find my own way. I’m also happy to be in a co-ed environment as it is more of a real-world experience. It is, however, going to be a big adjustment.”

His mother, Charleen, said they were extremely proud of their son who had always been a hard worker. She said Gary had been involved in many activities throughout his schooling but had always managed to balance work and play.

She described Gary as someone with a keen sense of humour, who kept them on their toes at home.

“Gary has a lot of potential, and this achievement can be used as a springboard for his future,” she said.

Gary’s advice to the matric class of 2020 is to keep the bigger picture in mind and take this year and give it their all.