Durban - Midlands teen Michael Brown has come home as the smartest kid in the land, having won the fifth annual The IIE’s Varsity College National High Schools Quiz competition in Gauteng.
About 400 Grade 9 to 11 pupils entered. By the final round last weekend, the number had trimmed down to seven finalists from Pietermaritzburg, Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Bay and Humansdorp.
“The final was by far the most challenging of all the rounds. One wrong mistake and it could bring you to the bottom,” said a jubilant Michael, who attends Grace College in Hilton.
“I encourage all high school pupils to take part in the quiz next year – it is way more fun and competitive than you think!”
Brown plans to spend a little of his winnings on himself before investing the rest. He walked away with a R10 000 cash prize as well as R10 000 for his school, and a further R5 000 for his proud teacher and coach Tarrin Webster.
Facing about 300 complex questions in three rounds across six categories – current affairs, history, geography, sport and entertainment and science and nature – the 16-year-old demonstrated not only an exceptional grasp of academic material but also a remarkable general knowledge and ability to perform well under pressure, the organisers said in a statement.
IIE’s Varsity College spokesperson Sarnelia Mandapalli said the quiz had “reached new heights of success this year”.
“Through intense and exhilarating initial and secondary rounds, the field narrowed down to just eight exceptional individuals, each proudly representing their schools and provinces at the grand finale.
“These talented young minds showcased their knowledge and wit, competing for the coveted title. It was an inspiring display of talent and determination, reminding us once again of the incredible potential of the nation’s youth.”
The Independent on Saturday