It is not everyday nor everyone who gets a pat on the back from the President for working hard and making the country proud. John Chitonga is one of the few people who had an opportunity to shake President Ian Khamaís hand after scooping the 2015 Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) overall top achiever award organised by the Botswana Examinations Council (BEC). The event held at Travel Lodge in Gaborone, was the BECís seventh top achievers awards ceremony.
Chitonga, who scored seven A* and two A’s was a student at Lotsane Senior Secondary School. After receiving the award he told the audience that his achievement was because of his mother’s support.
“I am very grateful to my mother who has always encouraged me to work hard in order to achieve what I want in life. She taught me that the world is competitive and that it is up to me as an individual to choose to swim to make it or sink,” he said.
He said his education started when he attended his mother’s private pre-school. John’s mother Mary Chitonga said she always encourages her children to work hard.
Mary described her son as a dedicated, hardworking and disciplined student. She said she instilled the spirit of excellence in her children by telling them that she does not reward for a job done, but for a job well done.
“Responsibilities and academic excellence are collective. You cannot excel if you are not responsible because ultimately you have to be a responsible citizen,” she advised.
John walked away with an award and a P20,000 cheque while the second top achiever, Khumiso Letlhogile of Ledumang Senior Secondary went home P10,000 richer and the third top achiever Kesegofetse Rauwe of Materspei College pocketed P5,000.
In his remarks, the
Khama reminded students that opportunities for further education had been made possible by the hard work and scholarly efforts they made to reach the highest levels of performance. He also applauded the teachers and school leaders for their dedication, hard work and ensuring that they provide the learners with a conducive learning environment.
However, he expressed concern over some students who abuse drugs and alcohol and vandalise school property. He also said he was disheartened by some students who assault teachers. He called on parents to assist teachers in grooming children into better people, as they are the future of this country.
During the ceremony, 10 children from primary, junior, senior secondary schools and six from the special needs were awarded prizes.
Schools were also awarded prizes and a P20,000 cheque as follows; Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) award went to Swaneng Primary School, Junior Certificate Examination (JCE) prize to Nanogang Junior Secondary School while BGCSE award went to St Joseph’s College.