Grade 12 pupils from the Centre of Science And Technology (COSAT), in Khayelitsha, were encouraged to look at their challenges as a way to build their characters and a route to achieving greater things.
This was said at a lunch hosted by the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL), at the school on Thursday May 18.
Teachers and guests from various African countries attended the event and university students shared their life experiences in an effort to encourage the pupils to look beyond their own life struggles.
A total of 90 pupils, who are recipients of a Sanral bursary scheme, were given gifts.
Cosat, which is situated in the heart of Khayelitsha, is the only school in the neighbourhood that specialises in science and maths.
And as part of the festivities, Sanral honoured pupils who were thriving in the two subjects.
Sanral scholarship co-ordinator, Gcina Sentletse, said the event was aimed at honouring and acknowledging pupils who did well – and pleaded with them to continue working hard.
Sanral has been supporting the school since 2009 to ensure quality results and that less fortunate pupils reach their full potential.
Ms Sentletse said every child had the potential to succeed, but often failed due to a lack of resources and adequate support.
She said it was important to encourage pupils to study maths and science to meet the country’s growing need for black engineers and scientists.
“We need to plough back into our communities and support the needy pupils. They are the future of this country,” she said. “I call upon other big companies to extend their generous hands.
We owe it to the children to help them achieve their dreams. We all know that as humans we are inter-dependent.”
Ms Sentletse said they started with about 40 pupils but the number has been growing annually.
Grade 12 pupil Asisipho Fonte thanked the company for supporting her and the school. Coming from a needy family, she said she felt lucky to have been selected for the bursary.
Asisipho plans to study civil engineering. She said her parents were unable to cover the costs of her schooling and were grateful for the help from Sanral, who, she said, she hoped would continue to support her beyond matric.
School principal Phadiela Cooper said the ceremony showed that hard work paid off and that she was proud that her pupils had worked hard despite their obstacles.