Maths is my favourite subject. It is a tool that opened an amazing opportunity for me to be part of a maths challenge. The maths challenge brought me a special award for being the best learner in maths.

In Grade 6 there was a maths competition that I took part in. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but it was an opportunity I couldn’t let pass by. We wrote for the first round at school, this was the moment I had to believe in myself. When my teacher made the announcement, I was surprised that I was part of the 14 students who continued to the second round.

The next round was supposed to be at Ngodini, which meant we were going to go on a trip. That was the part I was most excited about because I love trips. When the day came, we all went by taxi and it was exciting along the way as we were all singing and chatting. Then we arrived and met different students from different schools. That was when I started to feel overwhelmed.

When I looked at the other students they seemed to be more classy and cleverer than me. Despite my fear, there was no turning back. Instead I had to be optimistic and believe in myself. When we started writing I was so scared because we were not even allowed to use calculators and I was not used to that habit.

When we were done, all the teachers were moving up and down and it was clear to me that they were going to give us immediate feedback.

Then they finally came on stage and at that moment I was praying.

“Heavenly father may you be with me.”

Before I could even finish my prayer I heard them calling my name saying .

“Mpumi, you have made it to the third round,”

At that moment I wasn’t sure of what to do, whether to cry, jump, scream or laugh. But all I knew was the fact that I had made it although I got 60 percent, the lowest score from the students who made it in the competition. My biggest nightmare began when I went back to school where I was judged by many students, some of them discouraging me saying I won’t make it.

Then came a time when I had to receive an award for my hard work throughout the three rounds. I received a certificate by competition but I had another award by heart and experience. The fact that I was part of the competition, travelled to different places and got to sleep in a luxurious place, was also an experience that I would forever be grateful for. After all, my special certificate hangs on my bedroom wall where I look at it each and every day.