19 February 2021
Written by: Gugu Ndebele - Executive Director: Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls
We, at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (OWLAG) are absolutely delighted and proud to announce that once again, we achieved a 100% pass and a 100% Bachelor’s Degree Pass rate. This means that the entire cohort of the Class of 2020, the O’ Undaunted, can enroll for degree studies at university.
2020 was a year like no other - few people in living memory can remember living through the circumstances and traumas of a year like 2020. The names ‘Spanish Flu’, ‘Polio’ and ‘Smallpox’ live on in vague memory but cannot be compared to the biological villain of our time - Covid-19, a strain of the Corona Virus. And as a year that ranks as no other, it is fitting that this report on the Academic Results of the Class of 2020 reads like no other. For this reason, this report is a story. It is an epic story - one which, by definition, celebrates the extraordinary doings of ordinary people. Similarly, our epic story celebrates our heroes - the O’ Undaunted: the Class of 2020. The word, ‘Undaunted’, means the ability to remain unintimidated and the ability to withstand becoming discouraged by difficulty, danger, or disappointment. When choosing the name by which their year would be known, the Class of 2020 had no idea of the heights to which they would need to rise and the degree to which they would need to stand firm in the onslaught of adversity and challenges.
The results they achieved, which are published in this document, bear testament to their resilience, grit, courage and the ethos of hard work for which they became known at the Academy.
When the first wave of Covid-19 hit South Africa and the President of the RSA announced the first Lockdown, which he subsequently extended, no one knew what was in store for the country and indeed the world. All we knew was that for the first time, we were faced with this most vicious and deadly pandemic and we needed to be extra careful. As a school, after assessing the risks and unknowns, we opted to deliver the Academic Programme remotely for the whole of 2020. This decision was not taken lightly, it was made out of an ‘abundance of caution’ and concern for everyone’s health and safety. The decision was made being aware of the well documented challenges that teaching and learning remotely would pose. The decision was also made with the commitment to continue delivering quality programmes the O’ Way.
The O’ Way means:
- Doing whatever it takes to ensure that our girls achieve and become the best that they can be regardless of where they come from and whatever their circumstances
- Putting the girls front and centre in everything we do
- Ensuring that, in our delivery, we leave no girls behind
- The girls doing whatever it takes to ensure that they learn and achieve
Our girls took on the challenge. They displayed a lot of grit, determination and focused, not on what ‘woulda coulda shoulda happened’ but on what is, and they took the advice of the Founder to shift the way they see the situation and to use the time to reassess where they are and where they want to go.
The O’ Undaunted accepted the reality that their most important year in high school is occurring during a world health crisis and life as we know it was flipped.
And they rose to the challenge and conquered.
Today, we celebrate the heroes who are the Class of 2020, the O’ Undaunted, acknowledge their successes and celebrate their results.
IEB National Statistics
12 024 full time candidates representing 233 schools wrote the 2020 IEB NSC Examination.
88.42% achieved a Bachelor’s Degree pass.
2020 OWLAG Results
In 2020, 48 OWLAG students wrote the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) National Senior Certificate examinations. The details are as follows:
- 100% Bachelor passes
- 112 distinctions (A) in total and
- 117 B symbol achievements which are in the 70% range.
Big congratulations go out to the top 3 students in the Grade who achieved 5 distinctions each:
Nosipho Felicity Makalima – achieved 93% in Mathematical Literacy; 89% in IsiZulu FAL; 89% in Life Orientation; 84% in History, 81% in Dramatic Arts; 76% in Geography and 75% in English.
Mbalenhle Khumalo – achieved 90% in IsiZulu FAL; 86% in Life Orientation; 84% Computer Applications Technology; 83% in Geography (83%); 82% in Mathematics; 77% in Physical Sciences and 74 % in English.
Tshepang Malebye – achieved 89% Life Orientation; 88% in Information Technology; 85% in Mathematics; 80% in Sesotho and Physical Sciences; 78% in English and 74% in Accounting.
Top 1% In Subjects Nationally
We are also extremely proud of two of our students who achieved in the top 1%, in the country in certain subjects:
Modjadji Tetelo Cassandra Francis – English Home Language
Dimakatso Mokebe – Sesotho First Additional Language
We are also very proud of the following students, who achieved great results:
|4 Distinctions Each|
|3 Distinctions Each|
A further 10 students obtained 2 distinctions each and 14 students obtained 1 distinction each.
We are proud of ALL our students for this great achievement despite the odds.
Overall OWLAG Statistics
- 47 Candidates wrote all their subjects.
- 47 achieved a Bachelor’s Degree pass (100%).
- 1 Learner has opted to complete 2 subjects in the May exam of 2021.
- 48 students wrote a total of 334 subjects among them and achieved the following outstanding results:
- 112 “Outstanding Achievements” (Level 7/distinctions/80%+) i.e. 33.53% of all examinations written resulted in Level 7 Achievements– Distinction.
- 117 “Meritorious Achievements” (Level 6/70 – 79%) i.e. 35.03% of examinations written resulted in Level 6 Achievement.
- 67 “Substantial Achievements” (Level 5/60 – 69%) i.e. 20.10% of examinations written resulted in Level 5 Achievement.
- A total of 296 (89%) of all the subjects written produced results better than 60%.
- 46 out of 48 students achieved a Subject Distinction in 1 or more subjects.
In addition, we are proud that OWLAG achieved higher than the national IEB averages in 13 out of 18 subjects (excluding Life Orientation) in their exam IEB average. This translates to 72 % subjects that achieved above national average.
As a school, we strive to promote all languages, especially home languages, and are therefore extra proud of our achievements in IsiZulu FAL, Sesotho FAL, Afrikaans FAL and English.
In IsiZulu FAL we received 17 distinctions out of 18 students who wrote the subject, in Sesotho FAL, 11 out of 15 students achieved distinctions, in Afrikaans, 7 out of 15 students achieved distinctions and in English 31 out of 48 students achieved above 70%.
Details of the OWLAG Outstanding Achievements are as follows:
- 13 out of 18 subjects (excluding Life Orientation) achieved averages above the national IEB average.
- 4 subjects achieved an average of 80% or above.
- 7 subjects achieved an average of 70% or above.
- 6 subjects achieved an average of 60% or above.
- Furthermore, 39 out of 48 students achieved distinctions in Life Orientation.
OWLAG Subject Results and Analysis 2020
We are extremely proud of all our girls. Many, if not all of them, overcame significant challenges over the last five years, and especially last year, and have come up on top. They not only leave academically successful, but they also leave resilient, courageous, tenacious and VICTORIOUS. We wish them well for their future. Well done to the O’ Undaunted for a job well done.
A special word of gratitude goes to everyone at OWLAG who helped shape these young women: from the teachers to ground staff, you contributed to the success of these bright young women.
Thank you to our amazing, patient and very dedicated Board Members who were on hand to provide support and encouragement during this difficult year.
Our profound gratitude goes to our Founder, Ms. Winfrey for, not only her generosity, but also her guidance and support during this period. We thank you for enabling us to do ‘Whatever it Takes’ to ensure that the impact of COVID is minimal on the girls and the Staff.
Finally, to our teachers...Take a bow for a job well done.
Congratulations to the O’UNDAUNTED!
A few words from Modjadji Francis (Top 1% for English, 4 distinctions and secretary of the SRC)
“January 2020 found us swimming deep within the excitement and dreams of wearing a tie, Matric dance outfits, completing examinations surrounded by the warmth of the pavilion, study camp, walking across the stage and preaching teary and hug-inducing goodbyes to our beloved companions. When the dreadful and greatly feared imposter, Covid-19, shattered our innocent excitement many of our foundations crumbled and many of us held on to thinning strings of hope with brittle fingernails. We fought against our own demons and the demons of others; especially load shedding. We cried and were indulged in sorrow and improbability. We struggled. We visited the edge of giving up one too many times. We lulled ourselves to sleep on countless nights wishing it would all end. One would expect the wave of chaos to have unmercifully drowned us. However, through it all; we made it. We managed to ride the wave, trusting the undaunted nature within each of us to be our campus. We battled against the harshness of the water and allowed our desire and drive to thrive to be our anchor. When the time came, we accumulated our reserves of knowledge and sat down in the gym; our masks being the only colour in the grey atmosphere of anxiety and uncertainty. 2020 was not how we would have loved it to be; but we tried our best; for that the graduating class of 2020, O’ Undaunted, will forever be exceptional.”