2 August 2017 – With a 96.14 percent average, Stehaan van Jaarsveld is far from an average learner. In fact, he has been challenged by Headmaster Chris Thomas to finish first in the Free State in the end of year matric exams.
Describing himself as nervous and excited about the prospect of achieving that feat, he said on Tuesday: “It is something I would really like to do for myself, as well as for the school and my teachers and my parents. It is a goal I have worked towards for a while now. But if I don’t get it, I am not going to beat myself up about it.”
Stehaan recently participated in the National Maths Olympiad with fellow matric pupil Tony Yu. He has previously contested international maths Olympiads as a member of a South African team.
Stehaan van Jaarsveld and Tony Yu represented Saint Andrew’s in the National Maths Olympiad
It was challenging, he said: “Everyone said it was quite gruelling, spending four hours on six questions! But we think it went really well.” Then, he admitted, it was the kind of challenge he enjoyed.
Looking ahead to life after school, he said he wants to follow his passion: “Definitely mathematics. I am planning to study actuarial sciences next year, because I have always had a lot of training with maths and it is something that I really enjoy.”
Blueprint for success
He also provided a blueprint for other learners to achieve academic success when he detailed his habits: “I think it is about planning for everything, being meticulous about taking down every single note in class and preparing for every test a week in advance.”
Stehaan is hoping to secure a bursary for his future studies, but said he expects to interview for those just before he goes to university. Just this past weekend, though, he revealed that he had been interviewed by a prestigious, highly regarded investment management company.
“Exercise is very important”
It is important to have balance in life, he added, and for that he turns to exercise: “Exercise is very important. I do a sport known as calisthenics, which is a body-weight workout. Being determined to achieve in something other than schoolwork is important for me.”
Stehaan explained that calisthenics is a relatively new sport in South Africa, but its adherents are making an effort to spread it far and wide.
“The goal is not to add too much weight to the exercises you are doing and this protects your body and joints from injuries. You can do it anywhere, just find a pole and work out,” he said.
That’s why Stehaan was the obvious choice to carry the Saint Andrew’s flag to the top of the flag pole at the annual Inter-High Gala.
Stehaan van Jaarsveld is watched by Saints’ boys after planting the Saint Andrew’s flag atop a pole at the Inter-High Gala