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Top Durban matric achiever, Mr Jaedon Naidu has chosen to study Data Science at UKZN after getting nine As in his final-year at Eden College, scoring a subject average of 96% and being named Dux of the school!
Being naturally gifted in and passionate about the subjects of Mathematics and Computer Science, Naidu saw opportunities – especially with the Fourth Industrial Revolution underway – to achieve and build a career in a field which focuses on analysing data emerging from numerous arenas.
Naidu, who received full colours for academics for three consecutive years at Eden College and was placed third in last year’s KwaZulu-Natal independent schools Independent Examinations Board (IEB) examinations, chose to continue his academic career at UKZN because of its international recognition and status and the fact that it allowed him to continue living at home while studying.
Exposed to UKZN’s data science opportunities in Grade 11 through the Dudes in Data programme hosted at his school by UKZN’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (SMSCS), Naidu gained background information in the field to help him make his study choices.
Naidu balances his academic efforts with daily calisthenics and gymnastic exercises as well as daily readings of Scripture to nurture his Catholic faith. He enjoys “underwater feats” which include solving a Rubik’s Cube underwater in 18 seconds without taking a breath (his above-water record is 14 seconds).
He is an accomplished pianist and has achieved Grade Four certification with distinction from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in the United Kingdom. At school he received silver and gold senior merit badges for piano, and twice participated in The South African Society of Music Teachers concert and at the Eden Music Soirée.
He is a skilled card magician and qualified for KwaZulu-Natal colours in chess for seven consecutive years. At Eden, Naidu was awarded his honours blazer for achievements that included gold, silver and bronze medals, certificates and participation in the South African Computer Applications Olympiad (in which he was the national winner in his matric year), the South African Maths Olympiad, the South African Programming Olympiad, the International Physics Olympiad, the International Mathematics Challenge, the English Olympiad, the Talent Search Olympiad, the Mathematics Contest, and the Online International Mathematics Competition. He is also a lifelong member of the Institute of IT Professionals (South Africa).
In addition to his academic and cultural pursuits at school, Naidu got involved in activities to support his community. He was a member of Eden’s Interact Club and attained a Level Two Eco Badge, and volunteered to lecture at the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa.
Words: Christine Cuénod