FOR fourteen-year-old Kate Louise Francisco of Liceo de Cagayan University, being able to represent not only Cagayan de Oro City but the Philippines is an opportunity of a lifetime. Last May 21 to 24, Francisco was selected as one of the 16 representatives of the Philippines for the 2017 International Mathematics Wizard Challenge at Xiamen, China.
Out of the hundreds all over the country who tried to qualify for the competition, the Kagay-anons’ pride Francisco was able to officially represent the country to the prestigious International Mathematics Wizard Challenge. Participated yearly by hundreds of participants in other countries such as Indonesia and Thailand, the International Mathematics Wizard Challenge is organized by the Mathematics Education Clinic (MEC, Indonesia), Mathematics Development Academy of the Philippines (MathDAP) and the Fujian Oversea Corporation.
The annual event has the reputation of raising teenagers’ interest in mathematics and in engaging students to further their knowledge and awareness of mathematics through competition. The event also promotes excellence in mathematics, enabling students to pursue math-related careers as well as forging a spirit of brotherhood and cooperation among participants for better understanding and respect of cultural diversity.
Last March, when Francisco heard about the announcement that she is to represent the Philippines in the event, she could not contain her excitement. She said getting picked to be among the representatives of such a competition was a big honor.
However, going to China together with the other members of the Philippine delegation proved to be a most memorable experience for aside from the honor of representing her country, she was able to be in one of the China's great cities.
Francisco said that she faced so many qualifying exams and training before she was named as one of the Philippine representatives.
"Kinailangan ko po muna kumuha ng 12 Saturdays po na session ng math classes dito sa aitn, tapos nagkaroon din kami ng in-house training sa Manila under the International Trainer's Guild. Pagkatapos, doon na kami na qualify na sumama. (First I had to take 12 Satuirdays of math sessions here, then I had in-house trainings in Manila under the International Trainer's Guild. After that, they told us sho will qualify to go)," she said.
But then, Francisco said that the Mathematics drill when they got to China were a whole lot harder that what she was used to having here. In the end, another student from Luzon was able to take the championship title in the competition.
"Mas mahirap po talaga yung mag pina gawa nila sa amin doon. Karamihan mga math problems na mas malayo talaga sa level namin," she said.
But then, she said that it was not much of how the competition was hard but how the honor of being there that made her trip to China very close to her heart. Francisco came back to Cagayan de Or with a new vision. This time, it is not enough to learn but to use her gift in Mathematics to help other students, especially those who do not like Math.
"Kadalasan po kasi, akala nila pag math mahirap na talaga. Pero ngayon, gusto ko na ipaki ta sa kanila na sa simpleng pagaaral ng math ng maayos, pwede mo ma represent ang Philippines sa ibag bansa. (Almost all the time they think that because it is math, it is hard. But now, I want to show them that with the simple study of math, you can represent Philippines to other countries)," she said.
Francisco said that the 2017 International Mathematics Wizard Challenge will not be her last international competition. And she vowed for the next years, she will strive to bring pride and fame to the Philippines internationally through the math.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 03, 2017.