03 October 2019 | Story Eugene Seegers | Photo Charl Devenish
Pieter Hoogenboezem
Pieter Hoogenboezem with his proud parents, dad Hans and mom Eldi, and Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

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At a gala event held on the University of the Free State (UFS) Bloemfontein Campus, on 28 September 2019, the top 14 entrants in the 39th UFS-Volksblad Matriculant of the Year competition were given an opportunity to share their vision with invited guests.

In his introductory speech, Pieter Hoogenboezem, deputy head boy of Pietersburg High School in Polokwane, Limpopo, said: “I think the Matriculant of the Year should strive to do their best in everything they attempt, and they should be good at communicating with others.” Pieter will be studying medicine at the UFS next year. He was crowned the winner of the 2019 Matriculant of the Year competition and also received the Sparkling Personality award, as decided by his fellow finalists. 

Pieter says of this achievement: “I am humbled and so blessed with the talents my heavenly Father has given me. I believe that the training and knowledge that I will receive at the UFS will empower me to make a worthwhile contribution to the medical field and society at large. It is going to be a great privilege for me to make Kovsies proud and to move others to become part of this university that promotes transformation, diversity, and inclusivity!”

Several other prizes were also awarded during the evening. Mandie de Wet from the Hoër Meisieskool Oranje in Bloemfontein walked away with the prize for best achievement in sport for her prowess on the hockey field, and Runé Edeling (Eunice High School) was rewarded for her accomplishments in dressage on a national level, as well as her extensive scientific knowledge and ability shown at the Eskom Expo, the Eskom Science Fair, and an international science expo in Arizona, USA. Each of these winners received R5 000 from the Kovsie Alumni Trust.

Dr Pieter Rademan, Matriculant of the Year 2009, had this to say to the finalists — many of whom will start studying next year to become doctors: “I’m delighted to see that so many here are interested in medicine; there is a desperate need for more doctors and good doctors in the country.” Using an example from the Norsemen, he told the matriculants: “Despite being shipbuilders and seafarers, the Vikings would set fire to their ships when they reached their destination.” He said this ensured that they would be motivated to overcome difficulties before rebuilding their vessels to continue the voyage. He exhorted: “Burn your ships! Calm seas do not make for good sailors. Get out of your comfort zone and get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

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