Francistown — When news of 2020 Junior certificate examinations results release trickled in, Ernest Masiapeto heard a whisper that he got merit and he sprung from his chair with one thing in mind that he has taken a second leap towards achieving his childhood dream of becoming a lawyer.
The first leap according to this ambitious young man was when he got first class in standard seven.
"I won't rest until I take that last giant leap which would be mission accomplished', having become a lawyer," he said in an interview.
Through out his schooling life, the 14-year-old says he has learnt that challenges can motivate one to excel.
When reading for examinations at Rutwang Junior Secondary School, Masiapeto says he told himself that challenges posed by COVID-19 will not deter him to score high grades in the 2020 Botswana junior certificates examinations.
Masiapeto achievements are an inspiration that challenges can be turned into opportunities, studying with the hope that one-day university doors will open for one.
The move from middle school to high school is an exciting moment for him.
"I worked hard in class despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, the year I was going to write for my JC examinations.
Shortage of learning equipment such as text books at the school was also a problem," said the Tonota-born lad.
In addition to becoming a lawyer, the young Masiapeto, intends to write books on part-time basis.
He says his journey to achieving in JC exams was not easy but commitment, patience and perseverance led to the excellent perfomance.
Masiapeto also attributed his success to the support that he got from his teachers, colleagues, his church and his family.
"I am grateful particularly to my teachers, my family, my church and my friends in school," he said.
It was all smiles when Masiapeto arrived at the school for the interview with some of his teachers calling him 'our merit'.
He is the only pupil who got a merit in all the Tonota sub-region junior secondary schools that included Tonota, Letlhabile, Chamabona in Mathangwane, Tlhabologang in Borolong and Bonwatlou in Serule.
The young Masiapeto dedicated his success to his class teacher Mr Austin Kgakgamatso, whom he said was his main motivator and role model.
"He was my main motivator and he always told me to work hard in school," said the first born in a family of two.
At his home in Tholo ward, Mr Maisapeto also narrated how his mother struggled to ensure he passed examinations adding that she was always at his side when he needed support.
His class teacher Mr Kgakgamatso described Mr Masiapeto as a disciplined and hardworking pupil whose parents and the school community must be proud of.
Mr Kgakgamatso, who met Mr Masiapeto in 2018 explained that the boy was always committed, focused and motivated.
"He never allowed external forces to distract him and he researched on daily basis, a sign that he had hunger for success," he added.
On the other hand, Mr Kgakgamatso said Mr Masiapeto was always helpful to other learners and that he was not surprised that he got merit as he remained focused from form one.
"He always dominated prize giving ceremonies and he was a member of the school debating club, something that made him a good listener and researcher" he added.
Guidance and Counselling teacher at the school, Ms Pauline Sepotlo also described Masiapeto as a committed and dedicated pupil who had leadership qualities and whom the school used when it hosted the 'Boys and Girls talk' to instill discipline on others
Ms Sepotlo cited that at some point one of the feeder schools had some problems with one of its standard seven pupils, the school approached Rutwang junior secondary school for help.
To arrest the situation, Ms Sepotlo said the school chose Masiapeto to have a talk with the pupils and the results were positive as those standard seven pupils listen to him and managed excel with flying colours in their primary school leaving examinations.
"You can see that he is skillful and a gifted genius with all leadership qualities," she added.
"At some point, I advised him to concentrate in Setswana, which is a must pass subject and he listened and this is why he made it this far," she added.
Her mother Ms Keletso Masiapeto, who could not hide her excitement, said her son made them happy and proud.
The mother of two explained that her son would cry when he had failed a subject but after that he would ensure he passed it.
Masiapeto recently received accolades from Tonota Sub-district Councillors especially the Council Chairperson Mr Chrisjan Machokoto for making the sub-district proud.
Source : BOPA