My name is Siphosethu Sota. I was born and raised in Cradock. I heard about the Shell scholarship program in Grade 9 from my former headmistress. They were looking for students that excel academically. Cradock is a small town, there is a high rate of unemployment. Young girls fall pregnant and they get into abusive relationships and they don’t get offered the opportunity to dream. The scholarship program came about because we looked at the matric results coming through from different provinces and we realized that some children , because they are located in rural communities they are not able to access quality education. When she received this scholarship, I was very happy. I was worried that I was not going to be able to get her to where she currently is. I got to get into a great institution such as DSG. I think they could tell that I was hungry for the opportunity and that I would do anything to ensure that I retained it. I feel inspired having met her because she took that opportunity and she really succeeded in an environment that was foreign to her. Moving from Cradock to DSG was a huge adjustment. It was a terrifying experience. It made me so scared that I constantly asked if I would adjust and adapt. I’d say she was different from other children when she arrived because she did not have what other children had. But what I would always tell her is that “God blessed you with intelligence you can use to change your circumstances.” I used her as an example in assembly the other day when I was addressing the girls about showing academic resilience and grit. She has a burning desire to know more and be more. I’d like to make a difference at home first. Because it would be more beneficial for them if they see that I’ve used the academic opportunities that I’ve been awarded through Shell to actually grow as an individual and know that I can actually do so much with my life. For me education has always been the key to success and it will always be.