ADVANCED DIPLOMA – BIOTECHNOLOGY STUDENTS GRADUATE CUM LAUDE
By Qhawekazi Memani 19 May 2022
It was a day filled with joy for Kholofelo Chilwane, Daniel Mohohla and Bridgette Phaka as they made their way to the Vaal University of Technology (VUT), Desmond Tutu Great Hall, to be conferred with degrees in Advanced Diploma, Biotechnology – cum laude
People like Kholofelo, Daniel and Bridgette are a source of encouragement to many, and proof that hard work and sacrifice are essential to one’s success.
All three graduates are actively seeking employment opportunities in their chosen careers.
Bridgette was born and raised in Orange Farm. It dawned on her that her cum laude merit pass was indeed a reality when she heard her name being called out shortly before being capped. Although elated, Bridget mentioned that her journey up to this point had not been without challenges. Sadly, during the course of her studies someone quite close to her passed on. In addition, she had to adjust to conditions presented by the Covid-19 pandemic on her personally.
“I prayed and aimed to graduate cum laude. The decision made me change how I used to study, pushed me to work harder and stay focused so I can achieve my goal” she said.
Bridgette’s advice to students: “Set high goals, then break them down into what you need to do in order to achieve them; and stick by them.”
Bridgette was sponsored by the Gauteng City-Region Academy (GCRA). She used the balance from her funds her undergraduate studies to enrol for postgraduate studies.
Kholofelo was born in Acornhoek, Mpumalanga. She says as she walked the stage, she was “excited and felt blessed; I feel over the moon.”
Kholofelo’s advanced diploma journey was not easy.
“I had challenges with finances and this was weighing me down. Despite all of that, I pushed hard to reach the finish line,” she said.
Resilience, perseverance, strong will, hard work and dedication were her best companions. “When you know what you want and where you are headed, nothing can stop you from reaching for the stars. I knew what I wanted, and I made sure nothing distracts”.
There were moments when she shed tears because she did not finish a test on time or submitted her assignments late. At times Kholofelo was overcome by fear but that did not deter her from achieving her dream of obtaining a cum laude.”
She plans to continue with her studies until the doctoral level. “I know it’s not going to be an easy journey, but I will apply the same spirit to reach that goal. I would also like to become a lecturer, an expert in report writing and practical work,” she said determinedly.
Her words of encouragement to students who wish to study further is “never give up, work hard and in everything you do, never allow anything or anyone to discourage you”.
Kholofelo’s studies were funded by the Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (Chieta).
Daniel Mohohlo was born and bred on the Vaal, Sebokeng Zone 7. Celebrating his achievement, Daniel said: “I am proud to have passed with a distinction. At first, I did not think it was possible because sometimes I underrate my capabilities.”
This has been a challenging and scary journey, for Daniel, but the challenges did not stop him from believing in his vision and capabilities.
His message of encouragement to fellow students is: “you know what they say, everything you want is on the other side of fear. In order to get an idea of how great you can be, always open yourself up for new challenging opportunities,” he said.
Daniel’s studies were funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), and he plans to study further.