Best Friends and “Small Town Girls” Top UKZN’s Physiotherapy Class of 2015
UKZN’s Best Overall Physiotherapy students are cum laude graduates and best friends, Ms Melody Fitch and Ms Chante’ Sander.
They received their Bachelor of Physiotherapy degrees amid much applause from their peers and supportive family members.
Fitch and Sander are both “small-town girls” who made a huge success of their studies at UKZN. They grew up within 20km from each other, Fitch in Swartberg - a farming community in the Drakensberg - and Sander in Franklin, a small town between Kokstad and Underberg.
‘I saw the positive impact physiotherapy had on the lives of my grandfather and father who both suffered terrible illnesses so I decided that I would like to be able to help people in a similar way,’ said Sander.
‘My highlights at varsity were definitely the amazing group of friends I met, living and studying with my best friend Melody, working at different events as a student physiotherapist and just being able to help such a diverse group of patients in different hospitals,’ Sander said.
‘I feel good and really happy about graduating cum laude; it definitely wasn't something I was expecting. Getting my degree means that I can be independent and help others,’ said Sander.
She intends to pursue her master’s degree while working at a hospital.
Similar sentiments were expressed by Fitch a former St Patrick’s College Head Prefect and senior Dux, who excelled in sports such as the athletics, swimming, running, and hockey.
Fitch, now learning to play the guitar, said obtaining her degree was a big achievement because it meant ‘I can stand on my own two feet while growing in the profession and pursing my personal interests.
‘One of the main highlights of being a student was at the beginning of third-year when I took on a cervical spinal cord patient. The patient was extremely determined to get her function back and pushed herself in therapy. When I left the block she was managing to sit for a few minutes unsupported. Later in the year the same patient asked one of the other students in the block to let me know that she had stood up for the first time and that she was very grateful for all we had done.’
Physiotherapy Academic Leader, Dr Thayananthee Nadasan said, ‘On behalf of the Physiotherapy Discipline, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to both students on their excellent achievements. We wish them everything of the best in their future endeavours.’