The secondary school principal helps her students not only excel in science and technology, but become respectful, mature young adults.
Cape Town, South Africa
The speaker notes that this year, because the rankings are so close, the top 22 schools will be recognized instead.
That explains it, thinks Phadiela Cooper, principal of a small, disadvantaged school in Khayelitsha, a township outside the city. That's why I'm here, sitting in the beautiful residence of the premier of the Western Cape – my school must be No. 22.
But her school isn't No. 22. It isn't No. 21 or 20 either. Or No. 15. Not even No. 10.
Ms. Cooper's school, the Centre of Science and Technology (COSAT), a secondary school that specializes in teaching science, math, and technology, is No. 9 – the first township school in the history of the province to make the top 10. Helen Zille, the Western Cape's premier, makes the announcement herself.
That event was in early January. But Cooper tells the story as though it happened yesterday. "The tears were very close," she says, getting emotional even now. "In fact, I cried a little. It was just so overwhelming."
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