SACS pupil wins top maths prize

South African Maths Olympiad winner Emmanuel Rassou.

Grade 11, Emmanuel Rassou, 17, from SACS was the gold-medal winner of the South African Maths Olympiad this weekend. He received his award, in the senior-division category, in a virtual ceremony held in Pretoria, on Saturday.

Juliette Roux, from Herschel Girls’ High School, was the runner-up while Yi Lou, from St Peter’s College in Sandton finished third.

Emmanuel, from Claremont, has won other maths contests, including the UCT Maths Competition, but this was the ultimate prize, he says.

“The margins are very small and previous competitions ended up in three-way ties, which means that the gap between first, second and third is paper-thin, and my fellow maths Olympians are just as deserving,” he says.

He dedicated the award to his mother, Christelle Rassou, who died from cancer when he was in Grade 8.

Emmanuel believes that with more opportunities to access maths training and participate in maths competitions, the success rate in maths at schools will improve.

“Maths permeates every aspect of our daily lives, and the ability to master numbers allows us all to make better decisions and later improve our chances of finding jobs especially in the digital economy,” he says.

He dreams of someday meeting Elon Musk and perhaps going into space in one of his rockets.