18 February 2020 | Story Nomonde Mbadi | Photo Charl Devenish
Star of Stars Gala evening
Attending the Star of Stars gala dinner, were from the left: Mar'c Scholtz, Chairperson of the Star of Stars competition; Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor; Kamohelo Mphuthi, Star of Stars 2019/2020 winner; MEC for Treasury in the Free State, Mrs Gadija Brown; and Nomonde Mbadi, Director: Student Recruitment Services

An evening among the stars, celebrating some of the Free State’s brightest learners. This was the backdrop for the annual University of the Free State (UFS) Star of Stars competition gala dinner held on 1 February. The event, hosted by the Department of Student Recruitment Services, recognises Grade 12 learners from quintile 1, 2 and 3 schools in the province, especially those from rural communities. 

In its fourth year of existence, the Star of Stars competition rewards learners for academic performance, leadership achievement, and community involvement. The top-ten entries are selected through an adjudication process, with the winner verified by external evaluators. 

Recognising top matriculants in the Free State 

Recognised for his achievements in the 2019 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations, Kamohelo Mphuthi, a former learner from Leifo-Iziko Combined School in Reitz, walked away with the Star of Stars 2019/2020 title. Kamohelo is currently enrolled at Kovsies for a BSc degree majoring in Actuarial Science. In his acceptance speech, the Karee Residence student said, “In everything that you do, strive for nothing but perfection. I hope to be a leader who is an academic, who is affable and approachable, and a leader who inspires those who came before me as well as the future winners”. 

A new category was introduced for the first time – Sparkling Personality.  The finalists chose the one star that lit the room, was friendly with everyone, with a sparkling personality.  The winner was Bianca Mafukama from Tsebo Secondary School in Phuthaditjhaba.

Nomonde Mbadi, Director: Student Recruitment Services, said entries for the 2019/2020 competition were of an exceptionally high standard. “Five learners from the top-ten group were part of the provincial top-hundred learners in the past NSC examination.”  

Improving the lives of those living in rural communities

She said the competition is a unique recruitment initiative driven by the Department of Student Recruitment Services and supported by the Centre for Teaching and Learning, Kovsie Counselling, Student Affairs, and Mr Joe Serekoane from the Faculty of the Humanities, to guide and support learners through career counselling, mentorship, and adapting to campus life. 

Addressing the audience at the gala dinner, Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, encouraged the top-ten finalists to pursue their dreams with a relentless courage and an aspiration to succeed. Also in attendance, was the MEC for Treasury in the Free State, Mrs Gadija Brown, who complimented the University of the Free State as a partner in improving the lives of those living in rural communities.

All the finalists received bursaries from the Kovsie Alumni Trust and the University of the Free State, as well as gifts from the Fidelity Foundation, Bloempapier, and the Bloemfontein Business Chamber. Hill Mchardy and Herbst Attorneys awarded internships to two finalists enrolled for the LLB programme. To add dazzle and sparkle, Bridal Co and Euro Suit sponsored each finalist with formal attire. 

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