10 May 2022 Volume :10 Issue :16

Student Overcomes COVID-19 to Graduate Summa Cum Laude

Student Overcomes COVID-19 to Graduate <em>Summa Cum Laude</em>
Summa cum laude graduate, Mr Sherwyn Stalls celebrating with his wife, Martine (left), and mother, Shaunell.

Contracting COVID-19 during the last semester of his studies did not hinder Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) graduate Mr Sherwyn Stalls from not only obtaining his degree, but graduating summa cum laude.

‘I was sick for a while and didn’t have the mental capability to study, read, listen to a lecture or concentrate after my recovery. I told myself that I couldn’t drop the baton on the last hurdle. I was pleasantly surprised to realise I had exceeded my original goal,’ he said.

COVID-19 was not the only hurdle Stall had to contend with. His son was diagnosed with autism during his first year, which was a huge adjustment for the whole family.

‘We had to move closer to his special needs school and educate ourselves about autism. Having a supportive wife and family allowed me to focus on my studies, while also fulfilling my role as a husband, father and employee,’ said Stalls.

A process technician at Durban’s oil refinery SAPREF, Stalls studied chemical operations after school. It was necessary for him to upskill to grow his career. The business knowledge offered by the BBA coupled with the fact that classes are in the evening made it his best choice.

‘I have grown significantly in knowledge and skills from studying for this degree. UKZN really lives up to its motto of “Inspiring Greatness”,’ he said.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Stalls is currently completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and Supply Chain Management and hopes to complete a course in data analytics before taking a break to focus on the ventures he has started.

‘I aim to one day be a board member in the industry I am in. My qualification will grow my career and enable me to operate small businesses.’

Words: Thandiwe Jumo

Photograph: Abhi Indarajan

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