Writing the English Olympiad

On March 3rd, 2015, posted in: Academic, Featured, News, Students, Writing by

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English OlympiadWriting something that will get marked, but does not count towards your marks, is quite a rare occurrence for any student.  While, in the traditional English tests, personal fears, doubts and restrictions may limit how daring you choose to be in your writing, doing serious writing ‘for fun’ allows you to truly feel liberated, to craft something that is entirely your own.

On Tuesday, 3 March, a group of Wynberg girls spent three hours writing the De Beers English Olympiad.  The paper consisted of three questions- a literature essay, a creative writing piece, and a language section- with the questions based on the anthology, ‘Revelations and Transformations’.  Prizes include cash prizes of several thousand rand for the top three writers in the country, a free pass to Grahamstown’s National Schools Festival for the top fifteen, and scholarships to Rhodes University for the top fifty.

For the weeks leading up to the Olympiad, Mrs Kourie took those writing it for a number of sessions to examine the anthology.  Whether it was a story about Nelson Mandela’s inauguration speech, or a recorded Khoisan oral tradition of the creation of the stars, each was distinctly South African, and showcased changes, whether they were in society, a character’s mind, or the physical world.

Sitting down to write the exam, all the preparation in the world could not combat the nervousness the participants all felt.  Still, as our pens began to jot down points for our essays, time seemed to quietly slip out of existence.  The three hours went by in the blink of an eye, and before we knew it, the Olympiad, the three hours where we could truly write without worry, were over.  We can now only await our results.

A massive thanks goes to Mrs Kourie, for all of the hours she put in preparing us for the Olympiad!