Grade Nine Excels at Programming

Yaseen Mowzer, a grade nine learner at Fairbairn College, Goodwood, Cape Town succeeded in beating all but one of the 4 747 entries in this year’s Standard Bank Programming Olympiad. 

He was only beaten by Gold Medal winner Guy Paterson-Jones, a grade 12 learner at Bishops.

Yaseen Mowzer is a regular participant in Maths competitions, but this is the first time the talented youngster has taken part in the Programming Olympiad. “To come this close to winning at the first attempt, and that from a grade 9 learner, is phenomenal” said Peter Waker, the Computer Olympiad manager.

Guy Paterson-Jones, the overall winner of the Programming Olympiad is in grade 12 at Diocesan College (Bishops). Unlike the other participants, Guy’s first passion is not computing or mathematics. He is an avid rock climber and can often be found scaling mountain cliffs that require him to use his climbing skills to the limit.

Yaseen will continue to grade 10 next year. Guy is not sure of what he will study next year. He is interested in a wide range of directions: Maths, Linguistics and Music.

Comments Computer Olympiad manager Peter Waker. “It’s most unusual to find a grade 12 student still undecided this time of year, but Guy has the talent to pursue any of a wide range of directions.”

Guest speaker at the Awards Function was Mike Buckland of Triggerfish Animation Studios who gave the audience insight into the combination of art and science needed to create a film like “Zambezia”. He illustrated this with a clip from the new film “Khumba” which will be released during October.

Commenting on the competition as a whole Waker’s comment was “It is remarkable that only two of the six finalists are in grade 12. All the others are in lower grades and are self–taught. All of them used Python, the computer language Mark Shuttleworth used to write the program that made him a multi-billionaire.”

The medal winners were:

Gold the Standard Bank Trophy and R37 000 prize money, Guy Paterson-Jones grade 12, Bishops, Cape Town

Silver and R25 000, Yaseen Mowzer, grade 9, Fairbairn College, Cape Town

Silver and R25 000, Shaylan Lalloo, grade 12, Pearson High, Port Elizabeth

Bronze and R13 000, Ulrik de Muelenaere, grade 10, Waterkloof High, Pretoria

Bronze and R13 000, Darren Roos, grade 11, Pretoria Chinese School, Pretoria

Bronze and R13 000, Robin Visser, grade 11 St George’s Grammar School, Cape Town

The runners-up were: (alphabetical according to surname)

Jonathan Alp, grade 11, Parklands College, Cape Town

Matthew Cherry, grade 12, St Dominic’s Priory, Port Elizabeth

Frederik du Toit, grade10, Centurion High, Centurion

Pieter Kok, grade 10, Centurion High, Centurion

Demetre Liakos, grade11, Selly Park Secondary, Rustenburg

Jan De Wet Linde, grade 12, Jim Fouché High, Bloemfontein

Kiuran Naidoo, grade 12, Clifton School, Durban

Thomas Orton, grade11, Bishops, Cape Town

Ryno Swart, grade 12, Durbanville High, Durbanville

Waker praised all the finalists. “To be even number 15 out of 4 747 entries is a remarkable achievement. Watch these youngsters; they will create the future.”