My Roedean Story – Nthatisi Mota

Posted: December 11, 2018

When I began high school, I immediately set goals for myself. I rather ambitiously told myself that come Matric I would have received Academic Honours, and a white blazer, and I would be Deputy Head girl of 2018. When I told my parents my plan, they nodded and told me that I better start studying, if I wanted to achieve my goals.
Even though I have attended Roedean since Grade 0, nothing prepared me for what high school would offer.

When I entered Grade 8, I was struck by how much the girls at my school were able to do and to do so well. I was inspired by girls who had a such a holistic approach to their high-school experience. I realized that, in high school, at Roedean, you need to be good at more than one thing to do well, and I would seize every opportunity to flourish.
As high school continued, many opportunities did present themselves to me, opportunities with full parental support, I pursued passionately.
Early on, all my school days were jam- packed. Going home at 19:00 on a Friday from a piano lesson and coming back on Sunday for water polo practice became my norm- but I never found this odd. Even though at times I found my intense schedule taxing, I only had to look around to be reminded that I was not alone.

Grade 10 was one of the best years of my whole high-school experience. I was able to go on an exchange for 2 months to the Hotchkiss School in the USA, and, whilst there, I found out that I had made my first national water polo side, that was set to play in New Zealand roughly two months after I returned from my exchange.

When I look back on Grade 10, I remember my mother telling me in January that my holiday would only be in December. When she first told me that, I ignored her, a mistake on my side. Come March, I embarked on my exchange which proved to be one of the best experiences I have ever had to date. I came back from exchange having been academically challenged in a way I had not before. I came back with a newfound appreciation for learning. But when I came back, I was thrown back into my hectic schedule that I had momentarily left behind. This time in high school also proved to be one of the most challenging mentally. Upon my return I had to learn all the concepts I had missed in all my subjects and write my mid- year exams within a 4- week period. And the day after exams ended, I had to undergo a training camp for my water polo tour to New Zealand. We left 4 days after that. All in all, Grade 10 was a rush, to say the least. Even though this time was extremely demanding, it truly was one of the best times of my life. I was able to experience so much, grow mentally, and still have my December holiday.

Skip grade 11 to Matric and I can confidently say that I was able to surpass the goals I had set for myself in Grade 7. I was able to achieve my Academic Honours, be one of the first 2 Roedeanians to get their white blazer in Grade 11, as well as represent my country in water polo for three consecutive years. As well as that, I was elected as the Roedean Head Girl for 2018.

When I had set these goals in grade 7 I was not sure of how I was going to achieve them. I just thought, rather naively, that a white blazer looked good and that I wanted one. It is only know reflecting on my time in high school that I realise that all my achievements are because of taking on activities that I enjoy and constantly wanting to challenge myself and not comparing myself with others. I never embarked on an activity with the motive of, “I am doing this to get a badge,” but rather because they looked like good opportunities that I would enjoy and that would enrich my life.

Roedean has given me many opportunities within the past five years that have ultimately changed my life in the best way possible. From living in Argentina for 6 weeks in grade 11 to improve my Spanish to being able to stand proudly and watch as Bears (my house) swept the awards at Inter-House Music, there are so many memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

I leave Roedean excited about what lies ahead and grateful for my time spent at the ‘best school of all.’ I would not be half the person I am, had it not been for Roedean teaching me, and allowing me every day to dream bigger than I did the night before.

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Since 2009, Thinking Skill have been an integral part of the curriculum, preparing pupils for the challenges of higher education and life itself. We strive to prepare our girls to lead ‘life of significance’ in a world of exponential change. Roedean is the only school in SA to be accredited as a Thinking School from Grades 0-12.