Embarking on a journey of excellence begins with one single step. Yet, it is a journey which requires an unrelenting amount of dedication and sacrifice.
For Malaaika Siddique and Nicole Downs, two Grade 12 students from St Dominics Newcastle, it is a journey which they are determined to see through until the end. This follows St Dominics Newcastle recently naming their Top 5 students from Grade 7 to Grade 12.
Nicole holds the coveted title of top-performing Grade 12 student at St Dominics Newcastle, with an aggregate of 94%. An achievement which is by no stretch of the imagination, an easy prize to obtain. Especially, when hailing from a premium school such as Curro owned, St Dominics Newcastle.
“It takes a lot of work and late nights. The most I remember of the first term, is studying,” Nicole laughs.
Malaaika holds the second position, with an impressive aggregate of 91%. An achievement she says was made possible through an innate amount of hard work and dedication. “It involved a lot of stress and all-nighters,” she giggles.
As the two teenagers dedicate their time to their studies, what are their goals for the future?
Nicole explains she wants to study medicine at the University of Stellenbosch, specialising in immunology.
Her interest in immunology began to flourish in Grade 11, when she and her classmates learned about the immune system. It was a subject which immediately captivated her. “I find it interesting and I would like to learn more about certain diseases and how they affect immune systems,” she highlights.
Furthermore, Nicole elaborates she would love to be able to develop herself within the immunology sector, in order to further help people.
Along with Nicole, Malaaika states she would also like to go into the medical sector. She intends to attend the University of Pretoria and specialise in cardiology.
“My father is a doctor and he inspired me to pursue a career in medicine. Another reason, is I want to be able to give back to the community and make a positive impact on the lives of people.”
With their sights set on joining the prestigious medical industry, why do they feel it is so important to study hard?
“The only way to achieve your goals is to apply yourself. Also, my parents have always taught me to work. My father is an artisan and he works with his hands and he always tells me, if I want something, I must work for it. My sister also taught me, the only person I must make proud, is myself,” Nicole explains.
Malaaika adds, “My parents taught me to work hard. My father came from Pakistan and he started from the bottom, achieving so much in his life. In the end, it is all about the choices you make or don’t make which will impact your life.”
With the two St Dominics Newcastle students determined to succeed in life, their actions highlight the importance of setting goals and always working hard to obtain them.