Pupil chosen for ‘chemical reaction’

2016-03-23 06:00
PHOTO: nicole john Nikhil Mothalall (left) from Kharina Secondary School has been selected to represent South Africa at the International Chemistry Olympiad in Europe. With him is his science teacher and head of department, Ravin Govender.

PHOTO: nicole john Nikhil Mothalall (left) from Kharina Secondary School has been selected to represent South Africa at the International Chemistry Olympiad in Europe. With him is his science teacher and head of department, Ravin Govender.

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KHARINA Secondary School head boy, Nikhil Mothalall will be jetting off to Georgia in eastern Europe in July to represent South Africa at the 48th International Chemistry Olympiad, which takes place from 23 July to 1 August.

The 17-year-old placed first in the country during the written exam to qualify for the South African team and is the only participant from Pietermaritzburg.

He will be joined by two pupils from Durban and one from New Castle.

Speaking to Maritzburg Fever, Nikhill said he is humbled by the recognition from his teachers who saw the potential in him and supported him during the stringent selection process.

“The school entered me last year and I was selected for the top 10. We then had to do a written exam in the second round to be shortlisted. When the results came from this, I was placed first in the country, much to my surprise.”

Nikhil said he has always been interested in chemistry and understanding chemical reactions.

“Chemistry is wonderful. It helps you understand the basic concept of life and it has always been an interest of mine. It’s not the only subject I enjoy though, I also like accounting, maths, physics and English literature,” he said.

This will be his first trip overseas, which he is very excited about, and hopes it will not be his last as he would like to travel the world - but will always keep South Africa as his home.

“I’m so excited about the trip and the experience as this will open doors for me because I want to be a chemical engineer. By doing this, I will not just be bringing honour to myself, but also to my school and I am glad to be doing that,” said Nikhil.

Shaun Moodley, principal at Kharina Secondary, said he is very proud of Nikhil’s achievements and saw promise in him from the time he began at the school.

“He has shown phenomenal academic­ ability from Grade 8. I recall a maths exam he took in Grade 9 when he was placed first in the province.

“His achievements not only show what a great academic he is, but also shows the ability of our teachers because mediocre teachers produce mediocre­ pupils and this is not the case here.

“Nikhil’s achievement shows the high level of staff we have here.

“I also want to compliment his parents on raising such a fine and humble boy. I know he will do his country, community and school proud on this international platform,” said Moodley.

Nikhil has to raise R28 000 for his flights, registration and accommodation. For those who want to contribute to the fund-raising, contact the school at 033 391 4551 or make a deposit into South African Science Olympiad, Standard Bank — Tongaat Branch (branch code: 057729; EFT code: 043828), account 332896110

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