Three in Olympiad's top 15

Chosen out of 8 000 pupils, each won a year's free university fees.

Three Nelson Mandela Bay pupils did their schools proud when they each secured a spot in the Top 15 at this year's De Beers English Olympiad.

Woodridge High School matric pupil Heinrich Cox, 18, and Victoria Park High School pupils Pierre Durandt, 18, and Taryn Benade, 18, were among 8 000 candidates who took part in the national examination this year. As part of their prize, the three pupils qualify for a year's free tuition at Rhodes University including a sponsored trip to represent Nelson Mandela Bay at this year's National Schools Festival in Grahamstown on July 17, where the ranking order of the Top 15 will be announced.

The top three winners at the prize-giving ceremony will receive R25 000 cash, while the rest will get cash or book prizes. Heinrich, who said he was speechless after being chosen, said he had to sit down as the moment felt unreal. "I found it very difficult to concentrate in class after receiving the news, but it sure sunk in after a while," he said. "This is such a humbling experience and I truly am grateful. Just being in the top 15 means a lot to me, I'm definitely aiming for gold."

Heinrich said the test was based on their creative skills and writing as they were encouraged to give the most original responses and logical arguments to the questions asked. The Olympiad, which is in its 38th year, is open to Grade 10 to 12 pupils from South Africa and neighbouring countries to participate in a three-hour examination. Sponsored by the diamond company De Beers, it aims to enrich pupils through self-study of English and to develop an appreciation for the language.

Organised jointly by the Grahamstown Foundation and South African Council for English Education (Sacee), the initiative has grown from 6 314 entries in 2010 to 8 000 this year. Woodridge's English department head, Mary-Anne Lai4an, said the school was "extremely proud" of Cox. "We are very proud of Heinrich's achievement, which proves the creative and contemporary focus of teaching at Woodridge," she said.

Victoria Park teacher-in-charge of the English Olympiad, Paulet Meyer said having two pupils selected was the school's best result to date.

By: Chanice Koopman

Caption: CREATIVE MINDS: Victoria Park High School pupils Pierre Durandt, 18, and Taryn Benade, 18

Article Source: The HERALD (Morning Final)

Source:  The Herald

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