Martie du Plessis High School (the only learner with Down syndrome ever to be admitted)
Pre-primary to Grade 7: Ordinary school curriculum
Grade 8 to 10: Vocational curriculum
2000 Passed Grade 10 in the vocational curriculum (National Diploma)
Motheo College (the only learner with Down syndrome ever to be admitted, based on Grade 10 diploma)
2005 Passed the N3 course (Technical Matriculation Certificate)
Passed the N4 course
2007 Passed the N5 course
2008 Passed the N6 certificate course in Educare, the highest academic qualification at a technical college. Then she her practical teaching hours, before she received her diploma.
Received adiploma in Educare at Motheo College
Shéri is the only South African learner with Down syndrome who has passed a National Technical College Diploma in South Africa without having been granted any concessions. She sat National Examinations, which were marked by nationally appointed assessors. This remarkable achievement earned her a nomination for a special award by Motheo College.
Sheri is also the only person with Down syndrome who has an education diploma in the world.
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENTS AND PRIZES
Achiever of the Month and Achiever of the Year in SANLAM Netnews
Ewald Fichard Special Academic Award, awarded at the Motheo Further Education and Training College diploma ceremony
Awarded the highest prestige award from the South African Down Syndrome Association for the highest academic achievement attained by a person with Down syndrome in South Africa. Prize awarded by Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape.
Nominated as Bloemfontein Resident of the Year, a first for a person with Down syndrome in South Africa Chosen by Down Syndrome South Africa (DSSA) as representative of adults with Down syndrome on the Down Syndrome International Board
Nominated for a special national academic award for people with disabilities.
May: She is the graduation speaker at the nine graduation ceremonies of the University of the Free State, where she addressed more than 20 000 people over three days
June: Chosen by the University of the Free State as one of four honorary guests to meet Oprah Winfrey personally
June: She visits Down Syndrome International in London as their guest.
July: She addressed and motivated more than 2 500 matric learners from across the Free State at the winter school hosted by Free State Technikon
Autumn: Article about her speeches at the graduation ceremonies in SA Ophthalmology Journal to prove to doctors what people with Down syndrome can achieve
October: She addressed and motivated more than 1 000 matric learners from across the Free State at the spring school hosted by Free State Technikon
Appears on the webpage of Down Syndrome International as international ambassador for Down syndrome, representing all people with Down syndrome worldwide.
27 October: Received the Presidential award (the highest award) for people who have made a contribution to the lives of mentally handicapped people in South Africa. This is a national award presented at a gala event of the Hamlet Foundation in Johannesburg, and the first time ever that a person with a disability received it.
8 February: She is the keynote and motivational speaker at the Southern Africa area conference (covering nine countries) of Countrywomen of the World, in Maseru, Lesotho. Countrywomen of the World is the world’s largest organisation for rural women, with more than nine million members across 72 countries.
July 2012: Chosen out of more than 1 400 nominations as one of 15 Shoprite Checkers Woman of the Year 2012 finalists. She went on to win this competition in her category, “Young Movers”, and became the first Shoprite Checkers Woman of the Year with a disability as well as the first winner ever to receive a standing ovation.
Sheri won the competition in her category, “Young Movers”, and became the first Checkers “Woman of the Year” with a disability
Article in the launch magazine of Down Syndrome International (DSi),Chuks Etuka, after the editor of DSi News responded as follows to Shéri’s story:
“I would like to say thank you for your entry with the wonderful story of Sheri your daughter. The team have taken it in turns to read her story, and it has been unanimously decided that she and her story embody the very essence of the vision that is the Newsletter. As such, with your permission, we would like to publish the article in our debut edition.”
August 2012: Auditioned for the television soap Binneland, and was subsequently cast in a speaking and acting role –another first for a person with Down syndrome in South Africa. The eight episodes in which she appeared were broadcast from 31 July to 9 August.
15-17 August 2012: She delivered a keynote speech during the opening ceremony of the International Down Syndrome Congress, which is held every three years, earning her a standing ovation and many invitations to speak worldwide
21 August: Selected by Down Syndrome International to receive the World Down Syndrome Day Award in recognition of her incredible efforts to change the lives and perceptions of people with Down syndrome, which was presented to her at a gala event during the Down Syndrome International conference in August
29 August: Chosen to be honoured by Tribute, a KwaZulu-Natal-based organisation that pays tribute to people with disabilities in South Africa who make a difference in the lives of others. She was invited to a gala dinner to receive the award, which is a National Award.
In addition, Shéri still appears on the webpage of Down Syndrome International as international ambassador for Down syndrome, representing all people with Down syndrome worldwide.
November: Chosen by the Women Agricultural Union of the Limpopo province as their Personality of the Year 2013. She will attend their conferences and some of their meetings.
End of November 2012:
Sheri could donate R20 000 for school uniforms (for the learners without sufficient funds) and another R6 000 for teaching aids in the school for learning disabilities (Lettie Fouché Centre in Bloemfontein) where she teaches. She could do this because of the money she received from “Shoprite Checkers” when she became “Woman of the year”, in her category.
4 December 2012:
Sheri was chosen by the National Department of People with Disabilities and invited by the President of South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma, to deliver a speech at the International Disabilities day in Nelspruit, South Africa.
There were more than 3 000 people present. After her speech Mr Zuma and the ministers attending gave her a standing ovation and Mr Zuma requested to meet her. A part of this speech was shown on National Television (SABC-News) that evening.
The President of South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma asked to meet Sheri after her speech to more than 3 000 people including the president and about 10 ministers and vice ministers of South Africa.
The TV-program where Sheri was interviewed live (the production Kwêla) was broadcasted again in December and was chosen as one of the 10 best and best received interviews on Kwêla, in 2012.
In an article in Huisgenoot/YOU magazine,Sheri was chosen as the second most inspiring person in South Africa for 2012.
Sheri made a donation of R 15 000, which was given to Lettie Fouche school for learners with special needs, because Sheri spoke at a meeting of “The Insure Group Holdings Managers” in Johannesburg. This donation will be repeated in the years to follow and gives meaning to her life.
Sheri did the keynote speech at the International Down syndrome conference in New York, in the United Nations Building. The speech was translated in 3 languages and transmitted on U-Tube over the world. It received more than 40 000 hits. She also received the only standing ovation of the day.
The TV program “Against all odds” choose the program of Sheri (in 2012) to be broadcasted again in 2013 on another channel because of the positive feedback she received the previous year. They also made another which will be broadcasted on the 25th December 2013 and 1st of January 2014
Sheri is again nominated as Bloemfonteiner of the Year because of the work she is doing nationally and internationally to change perceptions of society about people with Intellectual disabilities.
Sheri receives the following award from the Premier of the Free State: “Most outstanding youth. Best Achiever Award” on National and International level in the Free State, during the Youth Day festivities.
Sheri visits the offices of Downs Syndrome International (Normansfield), outside London. This is always a highlight in her life.
Sheri has speaks at the University of Canterbury, outside London, UK.
Dr Andre Strydom invited Sheri and her mother to become part of research he is doing on Down syndrome in London, UK. He is the HEFCE Clinical Senior Lecturer in Intellectual Disabilities UCL Mental Health Sciences Unit in London.
She also visited Prof's Hardy en Fischer of the UCL, who explained research that is been done on Downs and where Sheri will be able to assist.
Sheri was officially invited to be part of a research project on Down syndrome in London by Prof Dean Nizetic, from Queen Mary’s University in London. He is famous for being part of the team that first sequenced chromosome 21 and is now doing cellular research using cells from people with DS to see what we can learn about differences in cellular function, which could point the way to new treatments for problems such as Alzheimer’s disease.