Oshakati — They come from different schools and different family backgrounds, but Rosalia Iita and Laina Amupolo have proven to be the best through discipline, hard work and the desire to excell by taking first and second place in the Grade 10 final examinations last year.
Both star performers are now Grade 11 learners at Gabriel Taapopi Secondary School at Ongwediva, which is accommodating nine of the top ten Grade 10 performers in the region.
Four of the best attended Grade 10 at Gabriel Taapopi, while four are from Charles Anderson Primary School and two are from Amutanga Combined School and Mweshipandeka Senior Secondary School respectively.
Rosalia Iita, a former learner at Charles Anderson Primary School, a government school at Ongwediva, came out on top in the region.
She obtained A's in all nine subjects during the Junior Secondary Certificate examination netting 42 points. "I studied really hard, I put in a lot of effort, but I did not do all that on my own. I did it with the help of God," said Iita. Iita, the daughter of a technician and a school secretary also thanks her teachers and parents for her impressive achievement, and says she had enough time, study materials and space to study.
According to her, her parents made sure that her young siblings would not disturb her while she studied and her teachers at Charles Anderson made sure they completed the syllabus on time, which created enough time for revision and extra classes. Iita who is aspiring to become a cardiac surgeon one day says she has always been on top of her class since Grade 1 and unlike most of her peers she experienced very few social problems that could have interfered with her studies.
Laina Amupolo on the other hand has a different story to tell. Amupolo, who hails from Oshikuku in Omusati Region started primary school at Mupewa Primary School - a village school with limited resources. She was brought up by her aunt and says both her parents do not have decent jobs. Amupolo, the second best Grade 10 performer in the Oshana Region, went to Gabriel Taapopi Senior Secondary School in 2010 where she started Grade 8.
She says getting to the top came with its own challenges since she had to deal with peer pressure, limited study materials and her family's financial struggles. "We used to be called names by some of our friends. They said we were nerds and we had no life, because we spent most of our time studying and hardly had time to engage in other activities," she said.
Amupolo, who managed to get eight A symbols and one B symbol, also notching up 42 points said she wants to become a medical doctor in order to help her parents. "It has never been easy, because at times my parents struggled to pay my school fees and those of my two siblings. That is why I need to study hard and help them one day," she says.
Sakaria Eelu the Principal of Gabriel Taapopi Senior Secondary School, which is now home to nine of the top ten performers, said producing only some of the best performers in the region is not good enough. "I don't feel good, I am not supposed to produce some of the best, I should produce nothing but the best. But I don't think we did not perform well enough, it is just that there is competition in the region -which is good. Therefore I should give credit to my teachers and the children who worked hard, they deserve to be congratulated," said Eelu.
Eelu encouraged teachers and learners from all schools in the nation to trust and believe in their ability to succeed. He maintained that learners should believe that they are capable, while teachers and parents on the other hand should work hard and motivate learners and make them realise their maximum potential in different activities, including sports.