Gauteng learner best Junior of SA Maths Olympiad

South Africa’s greatest minds were honoured for their performance in the South African Mathematics Olympiad (SAMO) for high school learners.

The South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF) annual awards function took place on the 23rd of September at the Krystal Beach Hotel, Gordon's Bay.Timothy Schlesinger (Rondebosch Boys’ High) was awarded the prize for top senior (grades 10 to 12) learner and Andi Qu (St. Johns College) for top junior (grades 8-9) learner of the South African Mathematics Olympiad (SAMO). 

Andi Qu is a dynamic learner that is motivated to take risks and gets an adrenaline rush from participating in class discussions which has proven to work in his favour. He plays chess with one less pawn and does his maths problems in pen. Although the Western Cape again walked away with the most of the SAMO national awards, Gauteng has done reasonably well with 10 learners and 3 schools receiving recognition for the performance in the SAMO.  A total of 6821 Gauteng learners from 241 schools participated in the 2nd round of the SAMO of which 59 Learners from 40 schools qualified for the Final Round of the SAMO.

Maxwell Pirikisi, Divisional Director of Group Stakeholder Management at Liberty (main sponsor of the SAMO) would like to congratulate the students who have made top honours in the South African Mathematics Olympiad this year. “2017 is a special year for Liberty as we celebrate 60 years of guiding South Africans towards financial freedom. Through the tenacity and vision that our founder Sir Donald Gordon put into pioneering and growing Liberty into the great organisation it is today, we have had the opportunity to partner with and sponsor important initiatives such as the SAMO. Education is an agent for change in our communities and our continent at large. It exposes our youth to the boundless opportunities that they have access to irrespective of their geographical location. We would like to encourage these students to continue on their journey with dedication and excellence to build positive and lasting legacies regardless of the fields of study they choose to pursue."

Andi attended training at SAMF’s Wits Siyanqoba training centre. The Siyanqoba Regional Olympiad Training Programme, sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology, is a programme which concentrates on developing problem solving skills, unlike in regular school curricula where the focus is more on solving routine-type questions. Gauteng has two Siyanqoba centres namely University of Pretoria and the Centre of Excellence in Mathematical and Statistical Science at the University of Witwatersrand. Andi was also part of the Wits Siyanqoba team which won the Junior division of the 2017 ASSA Mathematics Team Competition. The annual Mathematics Team Competition aims to develop mathematical skills of talented learners who have been identified through the SAMO and other SAMF Olympiad programmes. This year a total of 85 teams went head to head in a race to test their mathematical abilities.

Dr Belinda Huntley, Regional Coordinator of the Wits Siyanqoba Maths Olympiad Centre regards Andi as a highly gifted, conscientious and humble student. “Andi excels in all spheres, scientific and the arts. He enjoys problem solving, mathematical challenges and advanced mathematics. He is passionate about scholarly learning and is a humble learner,” explained Dr Huntley.

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Zanele Ncongolo

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Date:  06 October 2017

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