Local talent shines bright: Highlights from the 2023 Albert Allie Mathematics Olympiad held in Ennerdale

Organisers, Myles Daniels and Hamilton Dickson report: Our second year of the Albert Allie Mathematics Olympiad was a tremendous success. We give God all the honour and glory for a blessed day of healthy interactions. Hosted at the prestigious Saint George Primary School Hall on Friday, 20 October, this event brought together 22 top mathematics learners from eleven primary schools in the Lawley, Ennerdale, and Finetown areas. It was a fun half-day program comprising motivational enrichment and mathematics skill development.

We invited two learners from each of the eleven local schools, with each school submitting their highest-achieving grade 7 boy and girl in mathematics for the competition. We requested one boy and one girl from each school to foster a balanced and inclusive competition environment, ensuring equal representation and opportunities for all.

Learners in action during the competition

By design of fairness, the Olympiad testing material did not align with any school’s specific grade 7 mathematics curriculum. Instead, it was based on grade 7 level appropriate mathematical aptitude and out-of-the-box thinking skills. Success in the activities relied solely on general and mathematical knowledge for grade 7 learners, providing an excellent platform for participants to showcase their mathematical prowess. In an interesting shift from last year’s event, the schools that won top honors this year did not feature in the top three last year. We are intrigued by this development as it highlights our area’s talent diversity. Motivation is at the heart of this event; this is exactly how we aim to inspire and push each other! We are indeed excited to see who takes the honours in 2024.

Adding to the suspense and excitement of this year’s event, there was a two-way tie for second place after the first two rounds of competition. This tie was resolved by challenging the two learners with a mental math tiebreaker question. As they stood side by side, they were asked to respond to an arithmetic math problem, and the one who raised their hand first with the correct answer came out on top. It was indeed a nail-biter! We wish to give heartfelt congratulations to all 22 contenders. They are the top learners in their respective schools, so they are already winners.

The top three champions of the 2023 Albert Allie Mathematics Olympiad are:

1st Place: Maria Marees (Spectrum Primary School)

2nd Place: Mathabo Mdingi (Motheo Foundation Primary School)

3rd Place: Destiny Azobandu (Finetown Primary School)

Recognizing that the central goal of this competition was to enhance learners’ mathematical skills, the motivational speech session also substantially contributed to their holistic development. By emphasizing the importance of good habits as a prerequisite to achieving success, we provided learners with the fundamental tools to cultivate positive habits. Such skills will undoubtedly be crucial as they graduate to high school next year and will endure as lifelong assets during their university transition and advancement into the professional workplace.

We extend our most profound appreciation to all the principals and educators from each school who grasped the value of the event and seized this unique opportunity for their learners. The support of parents and community members for these aspiring learners was heartening. Thank you all!

A special debt of gratitude is owed to Principal Camp and Saint George Primary School staff for hosting the event this year, providing technology assistance, warm hospitality, and making everyone feel at home.

Thank you to our local Ennerdale caterers: Colette’s Sweet Treats, Mellas Cakery, Shaheids Fast Foods, and Prefill Water – for their delightful offerings that added a flavorful touch to the occasion.

About the Founders/Organisers:

Myles Daniels matriculated from Fred Norman Secondary School in 2018 with seven distinctions. He graduated from the University of Johannesburg in four years with two challenging degrees: B Eng. Electrical Engineering and BSc. in Information and Technology (IT). Myles is currently employed as an Electrical Engineer at Transnet.

Elenor Hermanus matriculated from Fred Norman Secondary School in 2022.

Hamilton Dickson is an alumnus of the Fred Norman Secondary School Class of 1994. He obtained his BSc. in Mathematics, BSc. in Chemistry, and later his MSc. in Organic Chemistry, all at US institutions. Hamilton has been a scientist in the pharmaceutical industry for over 21 years now.

The 2023 Prizes and Awards

The eleven competing schools:

Buyani Primary School

Finetown Primary School

Lawley Primary School

Mid-Ennerdale Primary School

Motheo Foundation Primary School

Odin Park Primary School

Thuthukani-Tswelopele Primary School

Poseidon Primary School

Saint George Primary School

Stanley Ramoba Primary School

Spectrum Primary School

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