“Never give up”
Lexi Davies, a kind, hardworking, friendly, popular student and the head of the Judaica committee at King David High School Linksfield, was about to write matric prelims in April 2021, when tragedy struck.
Her father was fatally shot in a robbery. Although it meant she lost her mentor, she managed to complete her duties as a student leader, and achieved six distinctions in her final exams.
No one can really tell you how to overcome a tragedy like losing your father, she says.
“You just have to overcome it yourself. I’ve tried to do my best in such a stressful time with a lot going on. But having a good support system and a lot of good friends and family to help you through it makes it so much easier. Also, just letting yourself know, ‘I will try my best, but if I don’t get my best marks, or if I don’t get what I want to, it’s okay, it’s not the end of the world.’”
She says she had “a very close relationship” with her dad. “Every time I had a sports match or something at school, he was always there for me. He was always the one to come and support. He would always be there shouting for me, and pushing me on. He played such an important role in my high school career because he would always make sure I did my best. He knew I was proud that he was proud of me. No matter how well I did, he was always proud of me, and always wanted to tell his friends.
“But he also made me tougher. He made me realise that sometimes you do have to work for things in life, you’re not always going to get everything straight away, and some things don’t come easily. He taught me not to give up and to have resilience.”
During her matric year, many of her lessons were online, but she could go in a lot more often than 2020.
She believes the pandemic made her situation easier and a bit harder. “People were a lot less strict about a lot of things because they knew there were often times when people couldn’t make things and do things. A lot of people were more sympathetic, they learnt that sometimes you can’t do everything. COVID-19 did help in that regard. But it also made it a bit harder. Sometimes you couldn’t see your friends and you couldn’t be with people that you wanted to be with. That made it tough.”
She says the school and teachers were supportive. “Having a personal relationship with a lot of the teachers helped because they understood. I was able to talk to them and tell them that I was feeling a bit stressed or needed a bit more time here and there.”
The teachers responded by comforting, helping, and advising her without putting any pressure on Davies.
Her mother also played a big role. “She was going through her own thing, but she made sure my high school and matric year was amazing,” says Davies. “And all my friends were a big help.”
Being observant and the head of the Judaica committee taught Davies a lot of lessons. “I believe everything happens for a reason, and I do have a lot of faith, so I think that helped me get through everything.”
Originally, she wanted to study straight after matric, but after everything she experienced in a stressful year, she’ll probably take a gap year. “I’ve been accepted to a few universities, but I think I just want to use the year to regroup and decide exactly what I want to do, where I want to focus. Maybe I’ll au pair or tutor and do something constructive with my time.”