St John's College

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Zacharias Onyejiaka with Mr Paul Emant at the Sixth Form Valedictory Service in 2023

St John’s Sixth Form alum Zacharias Onyejiaka (Sixth Form 2023) was recognised as the Top A Level Student in South Africa in the 2023 Cambridge International Academic Awards.

Having consistently worked hard during his college career, Zacharias anticipated good results but didn't expect to be the Top A Level Student in South Africa.

"I feel honoured to be recognised for this accomplishment. It's a confirmation that I can overcome challenges when I'm focused," he said.

Zacharias is currently interning at Alchemy Capital Partners in New York as he prepares to start his Mathematics degree at the University of Edinburgh in September.

"I chose Edinburgh because it is ranked as one of the best in the world overall, and for my chosen degree, mathematics. I wanted to go somewhere that encourages students to pursue more than just a degree. The sports facilities, clubs, societies, and cultural activities offered reminded me of the freedom and quality of choice I had at St John’s College. I'm eager to immerse myself among more advanced peers, learning from them and building valuable networking connections," he said.

Looking ahead, Zacharias plans to enjoy the vibrant student life and avail himself of the opportunities available to him at Edinburgh to graduate with a first-class degree. He hopes to gain experience within the financial services industry as a step towards his dream of becoming an accomplished entrepreneur.

He believes that the tight-knit community of St John’s Sixth Form was a fantastic environment for friendly academic competition. “Mr Paul Emant, Head of Sixth Form, was known for his friendly warnings of the rigorous demands of the A Level syllabus, which motivated me to work harder,” he said.

"The organised chaos of Mr Evan Snyman’s class during my first three years at the College taught me how to handle responsibility and that learning could be enjoyable. My history teacher, Mr Etienne Terblanche, had a similarly engaging classroom where I learned about history, politics, and the structuring of a good argument,” he said. “The fresh challenge of Latin reinforced my learning capabilities, and my involvement in sports and the Community Engagement Committee taught me the importance of time management.”

Zacharias advises current students to never shy away from opportunities or challenges. "Attending a school like St John’s College and St John’s Sixth Form is a privilege few experience. Involve yourself in as much as you can, and work diligently. Not only will you have a great time, but you will also develop into the kind of student that any university would admire.”

Zacharias was awarded Top A Level Student in South Africa, Top in South Africa for A Level Mathematics, and High Achievement for IGCSE Latin and A Level Further Mathematics at the 2023 Cambridge International Academic Awards.