Anything is possible – including overcoming a debilitating speech impediment- if you put your shoulder to the wheel and keep your eyes firmly on the prize.
This is according to Engen Maths and Science School learner, Adam Mohamed whose stutter may have prevented him from speaking up for much of his school life but did stop him from achieving 7 distinctions for matric and a coveted place to study actuarial science at the University of Cape Town in 2022.
“My greatest challenge growing up was my speech impediment which I developed when I was younger. Knowing what to say but not being able to say it was a tough pill to swallow throughout my school life,” reflects the Grassy Park resident and Livingstone High School alumnus.
“I always had the ambition to be the top student in my school, but my stutter was really demotivating.”
Despite overcoming his fear of public speaking in his final year of high school, Adam lives with regret of what he may have achieved in other areas of his school and personal life if he wasn’t hamstrung by the negativity which came with his speech impediment.
An inspiration to all for tackling adversity, Adam is now set for big things, which he says is all thanks to his mother.
“She pushed me to work hard on days that I really didn’t want to and always saw my potential even though I couldn’t see it which was instrumental in helping me believe in myself,” he says.
Adam lives by two philosophies – anything is possible and what you put in you will undoubtedly get out.
“You should never limit your potential and always strive to achieve something that others would see as “impossible”.
His advice for the Engen Maths and Science School class of 2022 is to make use of every resource available and to use every opportunity that comes your way, whilst surrounding yourself with peers who want to work hard as they can be the key to pushing you to achieve your goals.
“Put your shoulder to the wheel and keep your eye on the prize. If you believe you can do it, then you are halfway there.”
Adam’s hope for the future is to complete his degree and build a career that allows him to support his family.
“I also hope that I will be able to give back to my community as they have always supported me, and I’ve witnessed many hardships. I want to make all those who believed in me proud and to become the best version of myself.”
After a second year of Covid-19 hardship, Adam says Grade 12 was daunting and challenging, with the various disruptions impacting him physically and emotionally.
“Thankfully, my parents and family were always there to help and guide me when I needed it, while the supplementary classes offered by the Engen Maths and Science School provided that little bit extra to achieve the results that I expected from myself.
“I needed the extra help in areas I found challenging because our school time was shortened by Covid-19 disruptions but the quantity of work was still a lot.
“All the extra help and resources offered by the Engen Maths and Science School at Belgravia and the excellent teachers on offer there helped me pull through and make a success of my final exams.”
The Engen Maths and Science Schools have run for over 30 years, and offer underprivileged grade 10-12 learners free supplementary Maths, Science and English tuition on Saturdays at nine locations across South Africa.
These include Cape Town (classes are held at Belgravia and Manzombotho High), Port Elizabeth, East London, Cala and Johannesburg, and in KwaZulu-Natal where classes are hosted at Fairvale High School, Ganges High School, Howard College, and Mangosuthu University of Technology.
The 429-strong Engen Maths and Science School matric class of 2021 attained a 77% overall pass rate of which 64% attained bachelor passes.
Engen’s manager of Transformation and Stakeholder Engagement, Dr James Nyawera explains that the EMSS programme focuses specifically on providing extra tuition in “gateway” subjects such as mathematics and science; subjects which are considered critical in addressing the country’s technical and engineering skills shortage as well as spurring economic growth and development.
“The EMSS programme seeks to harness the potential of talented young people in difficult circumstances and to also contribute to the pool of scarce skills in the country,” comments Nyawera.
“Starting off 34 years ago as Engen Saturday Schools, EMSS remains central to Engen’s efforts to contribute to the growth and transformation of South Africa,” continues Nyawera, adding that “the programme has worked tirelessly to help transform young underprivileged people’s lives, with a focus of creating a diverse and vibrant workforce.”
Nyawera says Engen is incredibly proud of Adam and all the EMSS learners who completed matric in 2021, despite extremely trying circumstances.
“Well done to all for showing true grit and determination! It is Engen’s ultimate reward to help set talented people up to pursue stimulating careers that won’t only benefit them personally, but also their families and the broader economy of South Africa.
“Engen is committed to building tomorrow’s leaders and if we want to ensure that the youth of tomorrow are prepared for a rapidly changing world, we need to ensure that they have the right mix of skills, for them to reach their full potential,” concludes Nyawera.
Engen congratulates the Engen Maths and Science School class of 2021 and offers a well-deserved round of applause to all the learners and teachers.