THIS year's best Grade 12 performer, Larisa Oosthuizen from Windhoek High School, who was home-schooled until Grade 2, says she lives and swears by the basic principle that she can achieve anything she wants with sweat and hard work.
Oosthuizen was the best overall Grade 12 performer of the year in the National Senior Secondary Certificate Higher Level.
The others in the top five are Lauri-Anne Potgieter from Educate Academy, Henry Johnston from St Paul's College, David Fourie from Windhoek High School and Maryke van der Merwe, also from Windhoek High School.
The petite, ever smiling 19-year-old pupil says that she cannot put into words the ecstasy she feels on being the best overall Grade 12 performer of the year.
"I feel ecstatic. One cannot explain it. It is the best reward," she said.
She, however, said that she believes her disciplined personality instilled in her from a young age by her parents had a role to play in achieving her end-goal.
"If I want something, I go for it. I remain academically focused. I always strive to give my 101%," she said.
She said although there were days when the going was tough and the school months dragged on, she remained buried in her books.
As a reward for her hard work, Oosthuizen received N$2 000 as well as a national scholarship from the Cambridge Assessment International Education.
She plans to enrol in a full-time sports fitness programme next year.
"After that, I will enrol at the University of South Africa to study biotechnology," she adds.
Oosthuizen's proud father, Fanie, who accompanied her to yesterday's official announcement at Namcol, said she and her sister were both home-schooled until Grade 2.
"I think her home-schooling at an early age laid an excellent foundation. I always told her that you know you have got it in you. From there, she just excelled," he said.
He says good parenting and discipline had a lot to do with her success.
"She would never come to me asking for help with her assignments. She always did her work on her own," said Fanie.
Johnston (19) from St Paul's College, says he pushed himself hard enough and just wanted to impress and deliver a good performance for the teachers who dedicated so much of their time moulding him.
"You have dreams and ambitions, and you just go for them," he says, adding that he is not a very social teenager and sometimes found it hard to work with people.
The tall teenager says he hopes to enrol at Stellenbosch University to study mechatronics and specialise in media nano-robotics next year.
Windhoek High School's Maryke van der Merwe (18), who calls herself a mathematics genius, says she had to sacrifice a lot to dedicate her time and energy to school books.
"I had to move a few things aside to prioritise my studies. My teachers have been supportive and motivating," she said.
With her mathematical skills, Van der Merwe says she wants to enrol at the Unam School of Medicine to become a doctor.
"There is a lack of proper medical care in Namibia, and I want to do my part," she says.