Two factors are common among the winners of the 2015 Applications Olympiad announced at Kelvin Grove earlier this week . All the winners take CAT (Computer Application Technology) or similar and all except one only changed school to go from Primary School to High School. The exception went from Grade 1 to Grade 12 in the same school.
The Applications Olympiad challenges participants to use common computer applications such as word processors, spreadsheets and databases to solve a set of problems. Of the 13 193 who entered the Olympiad, only 15 made it to the Finals which were held at Bergvliet High in Cape Town. These 15 represented five provinces:
Three were from the Eastern Cape
One from the Free State
Three from Gauteng
Two from KwaZulu-Natal
Six from the Western Cape
Jade Caldicott was the only female participant. Olympiad manager Peter Waker explained: “In the past the girls made up nearly half of all finalists, won many medals and in 2011 even won the competition outright; 2015 is just an unusual year.”
Most unusually among the Grade 12 participants was the only Grade 9 ever to make it to the Finals. Albert Dreyer will have to wait till next year before he can take CAT at school, but this has not stopped him from competing and winning a place in the Finals. “He is fortunate that he can take advanced classes at the University of the Free State” said Peter Waker. “I hope more universities will offer such opportunities to deserving learners”.
The winners were recognised at an awards function attended by amongst others, Western Cape MEC for Education, Minister Debbie Schäfer, Mokgadi Madiga from the Department of Science & Technology, and Western Cape Education Head, Penny Vinjevold.
The winner of the gold medal was Robert Wood from Michaelhouse, KwaZulu-Natal. Robert is a regular participant in the Programming Olympiad and Applications Olympiad – where he won bronze in 2014. Although he spends up to fifteen hours per week on the computer, he also enjoys outdoor activities – especially rock climbing.
While going through their histories in order to prepare introductions for each of the medal winners, Peter Waker noticed that all of them had only ever attended one primary school and one high school – except Greg Harmse who had attended Lilyfontein School from Grade 1 to Grade 12. “There is something to be said for avoiding a change of schools” he said, adding “In future we will check whether this is a trend, or merely a co-incidence”.
The Final Results:
Gold: Robert Wood Grade 12 Michaelhouse KwaZulu-Natal
Silver: Fayaz Kimmie Grade 12 Islamia College Western Cape
Silver: Matthew Symon Grade 12 Herzlia High Western Cape
Bronze: Marc Domancie Grade 12 Edgemead High Western Cape
Bronze: Greg Harmse Grade 12 Lilyfontein School Eastern Cape
Bronze Roché Visser Grade 12 President High Western Cape
Joshua Bruton Grade 12 Curro Aurora Gauteng
Jade Caldicott Grade 12 Curro Mossel Bay Western Cape
Albert Dreyer Grade 9 UFS Python Project Free State
Isaac Gumbi Grade 12 Afrikaanse Hoër Germiston Gauteng
Grant Oppelt Grade 12 Alexander Road High Eastern Cape
Marthinus Steyn Grade 12 Florida High Gauteng
Pieter Theron Grade 12 Worcester Gymnasium Western Cape
Dylan Warwick Grade 12 Grey High Eastern Cape
Steve Yuk Grade 12 Domino Servite High KwaZulu-Natal