Amber brings home gold at Olympiad

2018-07-17 06:00
Amber de Decker. PHOTO: Karen Slater

Amber de Decker. PHOTO: Karen Slater

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Amber de Decker of Herschel Girls’ High in Rondebosch says the Pan African Mathematics Olympiad (PAMO) was a good networking opportunity for her.

PAMO was held in Nairobi, Kenya, from Saturday 23 to Saturday 30 June.

Amber was among six learners from across the country that brought home a gold medal for being overall winners of the competition.

Learners also received individual medals comprising one gold, four silver and one bronze as well as three PAMO Girls medals. The team of six was selected by the South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF) late last year after being the top achievers at a national competition.

The team beat Tunisia who finished in second place and Morocco in third. Other participating countries were Ghana, Tanzania, Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda.

The other learners from South Africa were Danielle Kleyn from Hoërskool Parel Vallei, Somerset West; Klara Eybers from HS Menlopark, Pretoria; Kgaugelo Bopape and Malwande Nkonyane from Horizon International High School, Johannesburg; and Razeen Parker from Rondebosch Boys’ High.

Amber says she loves all forms of maths and science, including Advanced Programme Maths, and enjoys being with people who share her interest in and fascination for numbers. She adds her team was happy with how the papers went after writing. “They were enjoyable and a little more challenging than expected.”

She says she also enjoyed the opportunity of touring various university campuses in Nairobi, including the University of Nairobi, and visiting the Nairobi National Park.

Amber encourages other learners to work consistently at maths, to persevere and not be discouraged by struggles or disappointments. She says maths is challenging but very beneficial.

“Maths teaches one to think independently, problem solve and think out of the box. These skills can stand one in good stead in many careers and aspects of life. Olympiad maths problems instil perseverance in a person, often yielding satisfying, surprising or beautiful outcomes­.”

In an SAMF statement, one of the team members, Dylan Nelson, says: “I am happy that all of the hard work both before and during the event paid off. I am very proud of the team, especially Kgaugelo who came second overall and Danielle who was placed fourth overall and crowned as Queen of Africa.”

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