Learners shine in Computer Applications

Half the medal winners in the Computer Applications Olympiad this year were girls. This is one Science Olympiad where girls are making their presence felt.

Almost half of the more than 17 000 entrants for the 2013 Applications Olympiad and four of the eleven Finalists were girls. The Finalists were from only four provinces, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Mpumalanga.

“It is most unusual not to have a number of Finalists from Gauteng” explained Olympiad Manager Peter Waker.

The eleven Finalists were:

Bianca de Gois from grade 12 at Brackenfell High in Cape Town
Michael Ross Holmes from grade 11 at Reddam House in Constantia
Gerrit Huisamen from grade 12 at Grey High in Port Elizabeth
Courtney Koutsouris from grade 12 at St Barnabas Independent in Durban
Hye Jin Lim from grade 12 at Beaconhurst High in East London
Mcebo Mkhonta from grade 12 at Beacon College in Malelane
Thiolan Naidoo from grade 12 at Star College in Durban
Ji Hyun Park from grade 12 at Domino Servite in Greytown
Devon Ryan from grade 12 at Bergvliet High in Cape Town
Sean Soutar from grade 12 at Theodor Herzl High in Port Elizabeth
Gianluca Truda from grade 11 at Michaelhouse in Balgowan

The Finalists faced a very tough test. The morning section of the final paper was a one-hour test to prove proficiency in using a Word processor, a Spreadsheet and a Database. During the four- hour afternoon session the participants had the opportunity to show more creativity. The problems were all centered around using IT to run a B & B. Among other things they had to design a welcome card and create invoices and various reports such as booking lists and arrival and departure lists.

The winners were announced at a Gala Dinner at Kelvin Grove Club.

Overall winner was Thiolan Naidoo, a grade 12 learner at Star College in Durban. He received a Gold Medal, the CoZa Cares Trophy, cash prizes for himself and his school. He also won the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship at the University of Cape Town – which he will use to study Actuarial Science at UCT next year.

The Silver Medals were won by Gianluca Truda from grade 11 at Michaelhouse in KwaZulu-Natal and Gerrit Huisamen a grade 12 learner at Grey High in Port Elizabeth. Gerrit is one of his school’s rugby stars and was actually on a school rugby tour in the Western Cape when the Computer Applications Finals took place. He fitted the Finals in between losing against Paarl Gimnasium and beating SACS. He is intending to study a B Accounting at the University of Stellenbosch next year.

Gianluca Truda comments “I am in grade 11 this year and fully intend to be back at the Applications Olympiad next year”.

All three Bronze Medals were won by girls.

Hye Jin Lim is the daughter of Korean missionaries in the Transkei and a grade 12 learner at Beaconhurst High in East London. Ji Hyun Park is a grade 12 learner at Domino Servite High in Kranskop, KwaZulu-Natal.

A most unusual Bronze Medal winner is Bianca de Gois a grade 12 learner from Brackenfell High near Cape Town. Her interests include cooking, make-up and the hammer throw. Unlike all the other Finalists she is not going to pursue a university degree, but has enrolled at a cooking school to become a pastry chef!

How good are these students?

The day after the Finals they were given an opportunity to take the Certiport Microsoft Office tests at Elkanah House in Cape Town. The international tests allow learners 50 minutes to pass a proficiency test in a Microsoft Office Application. Most passed the test in less than 35 minutes. This makes them candidates for the 2014 Global Microsoft Office competition which could earn them free trips to the USA for the World Finals.