Combine theory and life, says pupil who got 10 A's

2015-12-30 08:00
Ilan Malkin with some of the accolades he collected during the year. (Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

Ilan Malkin with some of the accolades he collected during the year. (Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

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Johannesburg - Being in matric can lead to pupils abandoning their social lives to focus on books, but Ilan Malkin, who got 10 distinctions, approached things differently.

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“What I like to do is treat the information from school not just as facts, but as knowledge. There is a distinction between how people interact with the two. Facts are just things you have to learn because it’s in your exam, while knowledge is something that applies to your actual life,” he said.

“In science, Newton’s action-reaction law is not just a thing you have to write in papers; it’s a thing that happens if I kick this desk. When you relate the things you learn to your reality, you handle them a lot better and you're also able to understand them much better.”

The matriculant from King David High School in Victory Park got 10 As - in mathematics, life orientation, English, IsiZulu, physical science, Hebrew, history, IT, applied mathematics, and life sciences.

Got 93% but could have done better

During his preliminary exams he averaged 93%, but believed he could have done better had he started studying on time. The charismatic and opinionated Malkin said he procrastinated too much at the beginning of the academic year, which affected his performance.

He set himself reasonable goals for his final exams, to avoid setting himself up for disappointment. He had hoped to maintain his 93% average or improve it slightly.

Family support

Malkin said the support of his family was vital.

“Sometimes, when I would be spending hours procrastinating, they would be like, 'Ilan, go work'. It wasn’t ever forceful. It was critical at times but I never felt like my family was putting this gigantic pressure on me,” he said.

His mother Andy said she was amazed at how well he did, given the volume of work.

"I think he handled the pressure very well but he did have his moments where there were doors slammed, but they were really few and far between. All the pressure he managed to withstand will stand him in good stead in future... when there are pressures of work and family," she said. 

Moving forward

Malkin hoped the country had a bright future, despite some of its challenges.

“It is still amazing to look at the new South Africa and how far we have come in terms of getting from a past that is so incredibly racist to a situation where there is much more integration. Racism is definitely still present in South Africa… racism towards black people and the assumption that because you're black you’re not that smart, which I think is still held by a lot of people.

There was also hatred towards whites given past injustices but, he said, the country had made great strides.

"We are nowhere close to the final destination we want to be at but we are moving forward which is something I think is really great,” he said.

Malkin wanted to study chemical engineering at the University of Cape Town in 2016.

His school's acting headmaster, Bruce Nozaic, said they were proud of what Malkin had achieved.

"His mature approach towards his studies is a superb example to all students who are striving to achieve excellence in their academic studies at school," Nozaic said. 

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  education  |  matric 2015

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