Lucas was the top learner at St Mary’s Saturday classes in 2011 with seven distinctions. He got more than 90 % in Physical sc, geography, life orientation, life sciences, and more than 80 % in other subjects.
Lucas was part of the Sizanani mentorship program : his mentors were a group of 3 friends, young professionals from France who spent a few years in Johannesburg (Prisca Foundou, Benoit Parmentier and Amandine Paulin).
Lucas ‘father settled in Johannesburg in 1996 as an illegal immigrant from Mozambique. After school, Lucas assisted him with his pavement business in Alex.
After completing his matric, he was admitted at Wits and got a Zenprop bursary. But he could not go to university because he was refused an ID document...
But, thanks to his outstanding results and his resilience, he was accepted at the African leadership academy, a top private international high school which “selects young leaders in Africa and develops them into becoming future leaders of the continent”.
This year, Lucas went to USA where he attended a summer school in Boston. He is going to study entrepreneurship at Babson College, a top ranking business institution, in the United States.
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my school, Alexandra High school : appalling conditions .
The school had problems ranging from a lack of facilities, teachers and educational materials. The school environment was chaotic most of the time. For example, classes would start much later than scheduled and sometimes teachers would not attend at all. In grade 10, we spent about six months without a science teacher and were lagging in our school work. All these elements infected most of my peers with a dislike for education and neglect for their studies.
I chose not to fall into that trap instead I told myself that I was in charge of my destiny and had to shape it. Thus, I borrowed books from the community library and carried them to school were I would voraciously read them. My peers could not understand this strange habit because they preferred having fun to studying. It was very difficult for me to stand up to this situation especially because I did not want to be labelled as the ‘strange kid’. However, I understood that I had a great mission before me that would require immense focus. As a result I kept up intense studying habit. My work didn’t stop here, I would also read at the library and at home until late at night. My grades subsequently increased and this gave me hope to continue working hard.
The St Marys outreach program catalysed and supplemented my academic progress.
It provided support and filled the gaps created by my high school education. It had very good teachers that helped me understand concepts to a greater extent and provided invaluable learning resources such as past examination papers.
The program also connected me with other high school students who faced challenges similar to mine and we helped each other to reach our educational objectives.
The program also gave me access to facilities such as the science laboratories where I could finally apply the theoretical concepts I read about in text books. One of the most important facilities that I had access to was the Outreach Program’s Library because my reading diet consisted mostly academic materials and lacked novels. As a result of the program, I had the opportunity to pick out one of my first novels and I have grown into an avid reader since. I am grateful for this because it has improved my writing skills and helped me in understanding complex texts.
The outreach program not only helped me in fulfilling my academic objectives it challenged my thinking and helped define my character. It taught me to give and care about the well- being of others.
The mentorship program gave me the opportunity to engage with professionals from different career fields. They provided a sounding board for the career decisions I intended to make at that time and shared experiences that helped me understand the real world. The mentors assisted with career planning and guidance. They also provided insight into the work environment.
The African Leadership Academy has helped me identify and develop my passion for entrepreneurship.
Through the Entrepreneurial Leadership curriculum, I have improved my critical thinking skills and I am better positioned to apply entrepreneurial thinking to real life problems. The academy has taught me important life values such as curiosity, humility, diversity, compassion and integrity. I will apply them in decision making and planning the future.In the next few years I hope to delve into the academic aspects of entrepreneurship and engage a bit of its practical side. I will achieve this by enrolling into college in the United States in the coming year. I also would like to focus my efforts into developing social businesses so that I can positively affect the lives of as many people as possible.