First place for problem solver Dylan

Dylan Kirby’s analytical mind and logical approach to situations have paid off for him when he finished in joint first place in the national IT Olympiad this year.

The competition was held earlier in the year, with the results becoming known last week, according to Ms Pam Raper the school’s head of Information Technology, who claims no credit for Dylan’s achievement. “This particular competition was about logical problem solving and it examined innate ability, not learned knowledge,” she explained. “Dylan is incredibly smart and he has the ability to see ways of doing things in a flash. I’m not at all surprised that he did so well.”Dylan was joint best out of 5000 entries out of more than 100 schools from across the country.

All the grade 11 and 12 IT learners at the school were entered into the competition and 84% of them got certificates, bronze, silver or gold. “They were entered on the senior elite section and all did well,” Ms Raper said. “A number of the grade 11 boys got gold certificates, which is a good sign for next year.”

The exam consisted of 20 questions which had to be answered in an hour, Dylan said. “I really enjoy the sorts of challenges that were posed and I actually found them quite easy,” he said. “For example, we had to work out how to get a message across to a network of computers in the fewest number of steps. That’s something I know how to do.”

Dylan agrees that these sorts of things can’t really be taught, but he believes the skills needed are something he has picked up at school. “I think that in all our subjects the teachers are trying to get us to solve problems, I have used some of what I learned in each of them to tackle the problems I was faced with.”

Dylan has loved his time at Jeppe, he said. The only disappointment has been that his great sporting love – rowing – was cut short because of Covid-19. “It’s sad that the matric rowers could not have a final season at school, but I have enjoyed the time that I did get.”

It has meant, though, that he can concentrate on his school work and we are expecting big things from him, come the final exams.