The staff of Graeme College feels strongly about fostering academic growth and allowing students to participate in activities outside of school that will enrich their lives, teach them new skills and allow them to develop to their full potential. There are many ways that boys can grow their academic talents. There are numerous opportunities (across both senior and junior school) for boys to enter into various Olympiads, quizzes and Expos which, in turn, provide opportunities for travel, exposure and the growing of positive self-worth. These prospects may brighten the lives of some boys, or provide them with valuable insight into employment opportunities. Over the years of encouraging such enrichment programmes, Graeme College has seen many of its learners come to the fore and go on to represent their school, province and country, as they advance to the final rounds of these competitions.
For the past three years, Graeme College has been proud to be part of the Shakespeare Festival. This festival is run by the Shakespeare Schools' Festival South Africa (SSF SA) and made possible through Educape. The rationale behind the project is to expose scholars to the possibilities of studying Shakespeare, as well as the performing arts.
The Festival's success is far-reaching. It promotes the development of language and a love for the theatre. The Graeme College Drama Club has so far put on "Twelfth Night" (2015), "Much Ado About Nothing" (2016) and "As You Like It" (2017). All three comedies have gone down well and "Shakespeare", as it is fondly known, seems set to stay!
The Eastern Cape Arts' Festival for Grade 11s
The Grahamstown Foundation does a lot of work around the country to enable the Arts. Many cities are proud to host their own provincial arts' festival. Grahamstown is home to the Eastern Cape Arts' Festival for Grade 11s which usually takes place in May. While this is a costly excursion and boys wanting to attend need to start saving early, it is one that is most worthwhile. In the space of two days, participants are exposed to all manner of the performing arts. They are able to see shows presented by professional actors, dancers and singers (to name but a few), but they are also encouraged to engage with these people as they attend a vast array of workshops presented by these professionals. Traditionally this festival is well-attended and the boys love it! Not only is it most educational, it allows the participants to grow and revel in something so different that the boys beg to be allowed back when they in Grade 12.
The de Beers National English Olympiad
The English Olympiad is a competition open to learners in Grades 10 - 12. Each year a different genre of literature is set for competitors to explore. It is a wonderful opportunity for boys who are interested in English to engage with a different way of looking at the world. The exam is gruelling and tests not only the skill of our young writers, but the language and creative ability of these young people as well. The Graeme boys have traditionally enjoyed this competition and a number of them have been ranked in the top 100. In 2016, 9 entrants sat the English Olympiad Examination. Graeme College obtained 3 bronze awards and 4 merit awards. Jarah Fluxman who also came in the top 50, obtained a gold award. This year only 5 entrants sat the exam. Three of them obtained bronze awards, while Hlumelo Jubase and Tashin Patrick obtained silver awards.
Graeme College is the Grahamstown centre for Admaths. Admaths is a national curriculum which is offered to high school learners as an advanced mathematics option. Alpha Maths and Admaths are both advanced Mathematics courses designed to expose learners to more challenging mathematics outside of their school curriculum as a bridge to university mathematics. Graeme College offers and facilitates both courses. The interest in the subjects has grown steadily over the years. Our learners have performed well in both Admaths and Alpha maths.
Interprovincial Mathematics Olympiad
Rhodes University offers enrichment mathematical courses and training on Friday afternoons. Learners who participated in the Rhodes University Mathematics Experience are invited to attend this year long initiative. The learners are exposed to advanced maths ideas and trained in various techniques by some of the top mathematics minds in the province. Graeme College learners have benefitted enormously through this initiative. Learners from all Grahamstown schools participate and compete to be selected for the Eastern Cape Mathematics Olympiad Team. Graeme College has represented the Eastern Cape Mathematics Olympiad Team in the various grades over the years and this has proved to be a most worthwhile initiative.
International PI Day
Graeme College joins the rest of the globe on World Pi Day to celebrate the number Pi. The aim is to memorise the number Pi to as many digits possible. This is quite a challenge as the number extends to infinity. The Graeme College record was set in 2014 with exactly 200 correctly memorised digits. The winners in each grade are rewarded with pies and mathematically enriching prizes.
Rhodes University Mathematics Experience
Rhodes University organises a Grahamstown interschool Olympiad maths competition every year. The top five maths achievers from Grade 7 through to Grade 12 are invited from every school in Grahamstown to participate. While teachers mark the scripts the learners are entertained by various top mathematicians from various universities. This is a prestigious event with a challenging level of competition. The top three achievers in each category win prize money and the top achiever wins a bursary to Rhodes University. Graeme College has enjoyed success in this competition every year since its inception five years ago.
AMESA/Harmony Mathematics Olympiad
The AMESA/Harmony Mathematics Olympiad is a national Olympiad which Graeme College enters every year. The mathematics becomes more challenging as learners progress through the three rounds. Graeme College has produced learners who have excelled in this Olympiad, with provincial winners and top 10 finishers in South Africa. The AMESA/Harmony Maths Olympiad is an enriching and rewarding experience for Graemians.
Eskom Expo for Young Scientists
The "Eskom Expo" is the premier annual science research competition for South African learners, and the only existing science fair in the country that affords learners the opportunity to enter a scientific research project of their own design. The Expo aims to inspire and develop young scientists as they identify research needs, analyse information, find solutions and communicate their findings. Learners exhibit their projects between July and September at one of the 32 regional finals. In the Grahamstown Region, the Expo is planned and implemented by Scifest Africa and sponsored by Rhodes University, which also hosts the regional finals. For learners entering the best five projects, Rhodes University offers first-year bursaries to study science degrees. Many other prizes and certificates are also awarded, and top projects are selected for display at the International Science Fair in Pretoria. Graeme College invites and encourages interested learners from Grade 9 and above to take part, and the school has a long history of participation and excellent achievement at the Expo.
National Science Olympiad
The National Science Olympiad is one of the flagship projects of the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA). Established in 1964, the olympiad offers South African learners in grades 10-12 an exciting opportunity to compete in science with fellow learners from SADC countries such as Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Namibia. The competition comprises a challenging (even gruelling!) three hour examination held annually in March, and learners can enter in either the Physical or Life Science categories. The main aim of the competition is to identify talent, to encourage excellence in science education and to stimulate interest in the sciences at secondary school level. During the June/July vacation, a group of 100 learners who excel or demonstrate potential in the olympiad examination, are invited to participate in a Science Focus Week consisting of stimulating lectures, excursions, industry visits and other fun events. Learners from different categories who perform exceptionally well are selected to attend the London International Youth Science Forum and the Australian National Youth Science Forum.
Rhodes University High School Quizzes
These quizzes form part of the annual Scifest Africa festival that takes place in Grahamstown in March. They are open to teams of learners from schools in the Eastern Cape, and the competition is broken into a Junior High School Quiz (Grades 8-10) and a Senior High School Quiz (Grades 11-12). Teams are selected for the finals of the competition based on their performance in a written qualification round, and the finals themselves are public events advertised in the Scifest Africa festival programme. Graeme College teams have been consistently represented among the finalists, and we aim to perpetuate this tradition!
Minquiz - The Mintek Science Quiz
Established in 1988, Minquiz is regarded as South Africa’s premier annual national science competition for Grade 12 learners. The competition aims to encourage interest in careers in science, engineering and technology (SET), especially in minerals and metallurgy, and to promote an awareness of the importance of minerals and metallurgy in South Africa. In addition to its entertainment value for educators and participating learners alike, the competition conveys the importance of mathematics and science as foundational subjects to a career in the minerals and metallurgy industries. Competitions are held regionally, usually in May, at which regional teams are selected for the national finals held in Johannesburg. At the regional competitions, participants write an individual preliminary multiple-choice test, and top-performing teams progress to a live on-stage oral quiz. In the Eastern Cape, Minquiz is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth. Graeme College fields a team of the top three mathematics and physical science learners annually.
The Astronomy Quiz, or "Astroquiz" as it is affectionately known, is a project of the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA). It is a national quiz competition for Grade 7 learners, focussed on astronomy and space science. The aim of the competition is to improve the teaching and learning of basic astronomy in primary schools, and more generally to generate and nurture interest in the sciences amongst learners relatively early in their school careers. Teams consist of four Grade 7 learners, who receive booklets containing information on which most of the quiz questions are based. Four regional rounds of the quiz are held annually between April and September, and the winning team from each region takes part in the national finals in October. The Eastern Cape branch of the competition is administered and hosted by the University of Fort Hare (Alice Campus). In what has become somewhat of a tradition, the Graemian Space Crew is regularly represented at the highest levels of the competition, and we will strive to continue strengthening our rocket boosters!
Rhodes University Environmental Science Quiz
The Rhodes University "Enviroquiz" is an outreach programme of the Rhodes University Department of Environmental Science, and is hosted annually in September by the Environmental Science BSc honours class. This event is targeted at Grade 11 learners from schools in the Grahamstown Region, and covers material in the Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Geography syllabuses as well as a fair chunk of general knowledge. Teams qualify for the event based on their performance in a written test, and the quiz itself is an evening event which is always a diverse and highly entertaining tapestry of creativity and multimedia. Graeme College fields a team every year, and we have a history of excellent performance and monetary rewards!
The Afrobot Competition is an amateur robotics tournament that aims to provide South African learners with a supportive and entertaining environment in which to get involved in a challenging technical project. The competition offers learners an opportunity to gain knowledge about electronics, demonstrate creativity and innovation, develop technical skills, employ a strategic mindset, and promote fair play. Each year a new challenge is proposed and competition rules laid out, and teams must design and build a robot with the capabilities necessary to complete the challenge. The national finals of the competition are held annually in March, during the Scifest Africa festival, and are open to senior school learners (Grades 8-12). Due to the specialised nature of this event, Graeme College participates only when enthusiastic and self-motivated learners take the lead in driving a robotics project.
SETI Cipher Challenge
The SETI Cipher Challenge is a unique competition for senior school learners (Grades 8-12) in South Africa and the United Kingdom, run jointly by the University of Southampton, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO), and the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The storyline is that astronomers have discovered radio signal communications from aliens. Unable to translate the meaning of the signal they have implored the global science community to help them decipher and interpret the data. Teams of learners will play the role of scientific groups tackling the problem. Teams can consist of groups from one individual up to a whole class, and each team must have the sponsorship of a teacher from their school. The competition runs for a week in July, and each morning a new signal from the aliens is released. Teams can then participate in two challenges - a science challenge (focussed on deciphering the messages), and a media challenge (creating light hearted or hard-hitting media reports about the impact of the alien signals on the inhabitants of the Earth). Substantial monetary prizes are available to top-scoring teams. Graeme College contributes a team to the South African contingent whenever there is sufficient learner interest.
National School Science Essay Competition
This competition is a project of the Royal Society of South Africa (RSSAf). Each year the Royal Society publishes four topical essay titles, and senior school learners (Grades 8-12) are invited to write an essay of 1000 - 2000 words on one of these topics. English is preferred, but essays in other official South African languages will also be accepted. The competition is designed to generate and nurture enthusiasm about scientific "current affairs", and to give learners an opportunity to write creatively and intellectually about scientific topics, expressing their opinions and original ideas within a framework of known facts and sound reasoning. Cash prizes are sponsored by the Claude Leon Foundation, and the two best essays annually are published in the "Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa", the prestigious scientific journal of the RSSAf. Graeme College strongly encourages learners to take part in this stimulating exercise, and we us this as an opportunity for scientific mentorship.
Extra Mathematics lessons
Graeme College offers extra mathematics lessons twice a week during school terms, between 14:00 and 15:00 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. These lessons are open to senior school learners (Grades 8-12), and are designed to address specific issues that learners have identified in their mathematical understanding. The lessons cannot be used in place of diligent concentration in class, but can help to solve problems that learners encounter, before these problems become compounded. The format is less formal than normal class - learners can arrive when they are able, leave when they are satisfied that their questions have been