Cyril was presented the award by Minister for Education John Gardner at the SACE merit ceremony held at Government House today.
It is the first time in eight years that the prize has been awarded to a male student.
Cyril, who achieved an ATAR of 99.65 with merits in English Literary Studies, Psychology, Research Project and Integrated Learning (Religious Studies), said he enjoyed being able to express himself with the written word.
“Compared to many other subjects, English is a lot more personal and offers more opportunity for deeper reflection,” he explained.
“Looking back over the past two years at Rostrevor, I really appreciate being encouraged to develop a love of literature and humanities.”
The Tennyson Medal was established by former Governor of South Australia Lord Tennyson in 1901 and is awarded to the Year 12 student who achieves the highest mark in English Literary Studies.
Cyril, who was Rostrevor’s deputy head prefect last year, has accepted separate offers to study law and medicine but has deferred medicine for a year in favour of law at Sydney University – “so I don’t leave any stone unturned”.
He has travelled extensively with his family in Australia and overseas including India, Israel, Greece, Egypt and Asia, which has given him valuable life experiences that have influenced his writing.
“Being fortunate enough to have experiences around the world has helped my writing in a huge way because I’m able to appreciate and write about different cultures,” Cyril said.
“Having a range of life experiences sparks creativity.
“I really like poetry – particularly poets like Seamus Heaney and Sylvia Plath – that explore emotions.”
Rostrevor principal Brian Schumacher said Cyril’s achievement was evidence that boys were capable of succeeding at the highest level in language-rich subjects.
“I can’t emphasise strongly enough the importance of literacy, particularly for boys. Developing a love of reading and the confidence to express yourself helps in all areas of study and life,” Mr Schumacher said.
“You only need to hear one of Cyril’s speeches or read some of his poetry or prose to see how a young man can develop a passion for the spoken and written word and use it to inspire, entertain and move others.”
Cyril is the eighth Rostrevor College student to win the Tennyson Medal, with former students George Young wining in 2002 and Tim Kennedy in 2000.