Rustenburg pupils shine at English Olympiad

Rustenburg Girls High School pupil, Rebecca Behne.

A Rustenburg Girls’ High School Grade 12 pupil came in the top 20 in the English Olympiad competition that took place in Grahamstown earlier this month.

Rebecca Behne finished 15th in the Home English Olympiad category.

About 6 411 pupils from across the country and neighbouring countries took part in the Olympiad.

Rebecca, who has enjoyed creative writing since Grade 5, said they were assessed on a variety of topics. “In the exam, you are given a range of essay topics relating to the material in the anthology to which you write a discursive response. The second section is a transactional or creative response section and finally, there is a language section which tests your grammar and ability to change between different registers while writing and choosing the correct one for specific situations.”

According to MEC for Education, Debbie Schafer, the top 15 candidates are invited to attend the National Schools Festival in Grahamstown with all expenses paid, each candidate also receives a cash or book prize and in addition, Rhodes University offers the top 50 candidates scholarships.

Rebecca was not the only Rustenburg pupil who entered. Talitha Wynne, Bronwyn Kruger, made the top 100 with their Olympiad submissions, while Helen Brooke was ranked 34th.

Rustenberg senior English teacher, William Haggard, said the girls worked really hard on their submissions, putting in many hours of extra work over weekends.

On the English Olympiad, he said: “The themes of the texts and the nature of the examinations are designed to encourage young people to develop and express valuable opinions as part of the conversation that is needed to build a nation of critical thinkers.”

Rebecca is also part of the Earth Children Society, which helps bring environmental awareness at the school, and she is a member of the Afrikaans society. When she is not busy with academics she enjoys swimming and does surf lifesaving at Fish Hoek beach. She also loves walking dogs at The Emma Animal Rescue Society (TEARS).

After matric, she would like to study veterinary science at the University of Pretoria where she has applied already, though if she does not get in for that course she will do a BSc at Rhodes University.