Nicholas Guthrie Kroon
Nicholas’ selection as a member of the six-man team to represent South Africa at the International Mathematics Olympiad in July 2015 in Thailand is a most remarkable, and well deserved, achievement. To be recognised as one of South Africa’s best schoolboy mathematicians has a “Schonlandian” echo to it.
Nicholas’ mathematical prowess is legendary. From being the king-pin in the Espin House Maths Relay Team to being a key member of the Grahamstown team at Interprovincial Mathematics Olympiads, Nicholas has single-mindedly devoted himself to mastering this discipline. He has immersed himself in the beauty, mechanics and art of mathematics through self-study, and garnered some remarkable achievements, amongst others:
• achieving 97% for the Grade 11 AP Maths exam while still in Grade 9;
• winning the Rhodes University Maths Competition every year since Grade 8, the last three years with 100%;
• unofficially writing the UCT Maths Competition for the last three years and scoring full marks in the last two sittings;
• placing 8th nationally in Grade 8 & 9, and 5th in Grade 10 in the South African Mathematics Olympiad;
• achieving an A for the Cambridge Thinking Skills A Level exam in Grade 10;
• presenting a paper on Mathematical Paradoxes to the Astronomers’ Club in 2014.
In the International Maths Competition, Nicholas represented Grahamstown while in Grade 7 at the competition in Bali, and he twice represented the Eastern/Western Cape, firstly in the competition in Bulgaria (receiving a merit award) in Grade 9, and, secondly, in the competition in South Korea when he was in Grade 10.
Nicholas has been invited every year, since Grade 8, to attend the South African Mathematics Foundation Olympiad Training Camps at the University of Stellenbosch and Johannesburg during the December and April holidays.
While Nicholas’ gift for mathematics is given, it has been through utter commitment and hard work that he has been recognised through the award of a National blazer and tie. It is also fitting to recognise the generosity and humility with which Nicholas shares his knowledge, love and passion for maths. He has been involved in the Siyanqoba Regional Mathematics Training Programme, he has initiated and runs a weekly Olympiad training session for Grade 8s, and he has been the saviour of many an Espinite on the evening before a maths test.
He is an inspiration, and a worthy recipient of this Special Academic Honours Award for Mathematics.
Mr AC Smith
19 May 2015