Beyond The Classroom
The South African English Olympiad is an annual national competition held for South African high school students in their final three years of schooling, and has been run by the South African Council for English Education (SACEE) since 1976.
This was Caitlin's first year participating in the English Olympiad. CGA’s South African Office offered Caitlin and other South African students at CGA the exciting opportunity to enter and take part in the competition. They wrote the three-hour-long Olympiad, which consisted of one analytical essay comparing a number of literary works and one transactional writing piece, at the South African Crimson Study Hub in early March this year.
Each annual Olympiad is structured around a core theme that participants have to address and explore by engaging with a set anthology of literary texts, poems and articles; this year’s theme was ‘care and compassion’. The prescribed anthology, ‘A Better World’, consisted of 27 literary works that allowed students to engage with some of the central questions surrounding the human condition and whether mankind does indeed possess an ‘innate essence’ of care and compassion, or a lack thereof.
Caitlin thoroughly enjoyed the wide range of literature that the anthology allowed her to explore, as the prescribed texts spanned from the works of Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, to Romantic era poets like William Blake, Modernist poets such as T.S. Eliot and more contemporary South African writers exploring our local culture and history.
This year, the English Olympiad drew over 5,800 entries across South Africa, and as it is a competition that challenges participants to conduct independent research and draw unique conclusions about the anthology, Caitlin felt proud to have been ranked in the Top 12 English Home Language candidates for 2023.
The final results and her ranking within the Home Language Top 12 was announced on June 30 where Caitlin was placed 1st overall in the country out of 5800 participants. In addition to a substantial cash prize, she was offered a scholarship to a local South African university.
You can view the final results can be found on the official SACEE Olympiad website, which can be accessed here.
To find out how your child can join a cohort of ambitious students, speak to one of our Academic Advisors today.