Maths boffin Emmanuel Rassou, of PanoramaPrimary School in Parow, was ranked in the top 10 in South Africa at the High School Olympiad for junior pupils, and he walked away with a silver medal at the prestigious event in Gordon’s Bay on Saturday September 23.
More than 100 000 pupils take part in the gruelling competition each year, which sees pupils, competing in the junior and senior categories.
Grade 7 pupil Emmanuel was entered into the junior category after being ranked second in the country at the Horizon Maths Primary School Olympiads early this year.
Emmanuel’s accolades included representing South Africa at the international maths competition in India after being ranked first at this event in South Africa. He also became the first South African to win a medal overseas at this competition in July.
An elated Emmanuel said he did not have the experience and knowledge of high school maths to complete all the questions for the four-hour final paper.
“I therefore did not think that I had much of a chance of a medal after not being able to tackle all the difficult questions in the final paper. This definitely came as a great surprise to me and everyone at my school. Primary school pupils hardly ever compete in this high school competition and ranking among the best is an extremely rare occurrence,” he said.
He is excited to further develop his maths skills when he joins SACS High School in Newlands in January.
“Bronson Rudner, a former SACS pupil, came first in maths in matric last year, and I hope to follow in his footsteps.
“There is much debate about the standard of maths in the country, but it is up to us, the pupils, to try our best to bridge this skill gap by trying our best in school,” he said.
Tanja Kellerman, the head of maths at Panorama Primary School, said the school was “very happy” with Emmanuel’s exemplary performance.
“Emmanuel is a very hard worker and is always keen to learn new things. He sets very high goals for himself and is very determined and motivated to achieve those goals. His love for mathematics is clear, and he enjoys new challenges. He is constantly improving on his skills by working through previous mathematics papers and any question papers from competitions that he can find online.
“His parents are very supportive, and he regularly sits and works through papers with his father.”
Ms Kellerman said he was a star pupil and achieved high marks in all his subjects.
“He also loves sport and plays rugby for the school as well as athletics. Emmanuel has a very bright future ahead of him.
“He has a very clear idea of what he wants to achieve in life and his dream is to be an inventor one day. I truly believe that he is capable of anything once he sets his mind to it,” she told the Northern News last week.