06 May 2021 | Story Linda Greyling
Matric achievers from across the country can now enter for the 40th Matriculant of the Year competition, hosted by the University of the Free State (UFS), Netwerk24, and Volksblad. From the left is Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, Pieter Hoogenboezem, 2019 winner, and Gert Coetzee, Editor of Volksblad.

Pieter Hoogenboezem describes his first year as a student at the University of the Free State (UFS) as a roller-coaster ride. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I was also looking forward to it.”

The medical student and 39th winner of the Matriculant of the Year competition for 2019 says last year was an uphill struggle due to COVID-19, but when he was eventually able to return to campus in August, it was nice to experience a bit of student life. 

No one could have foreseen what would happen in the world in 2020. COVID-19 has changed everything and this popular annual competition, which has been presented ever since 1981, also had to be cancelled last year.

However, this could not get the better of a competition rooted so deeply in the school community, and matric learners from across the country can now enter for the 40th Matriculant of the Year competition hosted by the UFS, Netwerk24, and Volksblad.

Well-rounded matriculants – learners who not only excel academically, but who are also involved in culture, sport, and leadership at their schools – who intend to study full-time at the UFS in 2022 – can enter. Community service and community engagement are also taken into account during the judging process. Matriculants can enter themselves or they can be entered by their schools. However, the signature of the principal as well as the school’s stamp must appear on the form.

All entries are judged according to fixed criteria, and 25 semi-finalists are selected. A total of 14 finalists chosen from this 25 will take part in the Matriculant of the Year finals in Bloemfontein from 5 to 7 October. During the finals, interviews will be conducted with the finalists; they will participate in team sessions, after which the winner will be announced.

The winner and 13 finalists will receive prize money from the sponsors – Kovsie Alumni Trust, Mazars, Absa, and Pick n Pay Preller Walk, as well as bursaries from UFS Student Recruitment Services, the final gala event in Bloemfontein, and gifts to the value of R10 000. 

The other 11 semi-finalists will receive prize money from Kovsie Alumni Trust and bursaries from UFS Student Recruitment Services. 

Two special prizes of R5 000 each are sponsored by the Kovsie Alumni Trust and will be awarded for outstanding achievement in the field of leadership, academy, sport, or culture.

The bursaries and prize money will be paid as soon as the student has registered at the UFS. Entries must reach the UFS on or before 6 August 2021.

For entry forms or for more information, email Linda Greyling at greylinl@ufs.ac.za

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