May 2015
Contents / home
Learners to link up with astronaut
Shared Sky, shared wisdom
"Talking science" competition
A meeting of minds
Young scientists take on Australia
Learners unveil project in Beijing
Introduction to crystals
Young Science Communicators' Competition
SAASTA inspires class of 2015
Meet Prof. Nox Makunga
Top young achiever's journey
Wonders of water at Scifest Africa
Learners work with particle physicists
Meet SAEON's new education officer
Light comes out of the darkness
In the news
Upcoming events
It's a fact!

A nurturing journey with a top young achiever

The education outreach programme of the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) focuses on in-depth engagement with learners, which translates to direct interaction with a carefully selected number of learners involved in the programme.

Participating learners are supported, tracked and monitored through the schooling system, and even beyond the school gate.


Ntsikelelo Charles (left), Thabang Stofel (centre) and Thami Zono absorbed in vegetation studies during the SAEON Elwandle Node's science camp for learners (Picture: Nozi Hambaze)
Ntsikelelo Charles proudly displays his award for being the second top achiever in the Grahamstown district (Picture: Anele Mjekula, Grocotts Mail)

One such learner is Ntsikelelo Charles, who joined the Elwandle Coastal Node's education programme in 2011 when he was still in grade 9. He was one of the SAEON learners participating in workshops during Scifest Africa, which is held annually in Grahamstown. Having shown keen interest in climate change, he was supported to attend a COP17 activity at Rhodes University in the same year.

In 2012, Ntsikelelo attended the Elwandle Node's science camp for learners in grade 10, which was held in Assegaai Trails, an Eastern Cape nature reserve. It is in these camps that the foundation is laid for learners to conduct their own scientific research.

Achievements at Eskom Expo for Young Scientists

Interestingly, in 2013 the majority of science camp learners entered individual research projects into the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists. They were supported in their research by Elwandle Node staff members as well as Dr Ken Ngcoza and Ms Kuhlane of Rhodes University.

Ntsikelelo Charles was awarded a gold medal at the Eskom Expo Regional Science Fair, a Rhodes University bursary to study science, a Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) Best Development Project award and a silver medal at the Eskom Expo International Science Fair. He is also a recipient of the prestigious Square Kilometre Array (SKA) bursary, only awarded to 10 science and technology students in South Africa each year.

Stellar matric results

SAEON was pleased to learn that in the matric examinations of 2014, Ntsikelelo emerged second on the list of top achievers in the Grahamstown district. He was the top achiever in the previously disadvantaged schools in the district, with 94% in Physics, 88% in Life Sciences and 82% in Maths.

This bright young talent will be studying towards a BSc at Rhodes University and has chosen Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science and Maths as his subjects.

By Nozi Hambaze, Education Officer, SAEON Elwandle Node