IN THE recent India International Mathematics Competition (InIMC), Team Philippines comprised of 34 students from different public and private schools impressively bagged a total of 26 medals.
With one gold, eight silver and seventeen bronze medals, including ten merit certificates, Dr. Simon L. Chua, the chief operating officer and co-founder of the non-government organization Mathematics Trainers’ Guild (MTG) Philippines and delegation head, praised the Filipino math geniuses for their commendable performance.
"With your achievement, you made not only your respective families and schools but also your country proud. It likewise reaffirmed that Filipino math wizards rank among the best in the world," Dr. Chua said in an interview.
The other participating countries included Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Iran, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and host India.
MTG has been in the forefront in promoting excellence in math education and training and was responsible for preparing Team Philippines in the prestigious competition.
The country's lone gold medal in the InIMC came from the Philippines’ Team C members Enzo Rafael Chan of Bayanihan Institute; Kristen Steffi Teh of Grace Christian College; Sean Matthew Tan of Jubilee Christian Academy and Cassidy Kyler Lao Tan of Davao Christian High School.
Aside from his team’s gold medal victory, twelve-year old Dabawenyo Kyler who is currently a Grade 7 student won a bronze medal in the individual category.
Kyler is no newbie in clinching top spots in international competitions. Aside from his local and national math medal hauls, he has previously competed and won in math tilts in Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia. In addition, the batch valedictorian was a perfect scorer and prize awardee during the 2016 Australian Mathematics Competition.
It was Kyler’s DCHS teacher Rosnie Buenaventura who first discovered his extraordinary gift in math. “When I was in Grade 1, I enjoyed doing math puzzles and riddles. Ma’am Rosnie saw my interest and would give me math problems to solve at the back of my notebook. She encouraged me to do math trainings to hone my skills. And, since then, math became a part of my life”, Kyler recalls.
“I trained at the Rigid Math Training Center every Saturday. I also joined Mathematics Trainers’ Guild Philippines’ programs and activities”, shares Kyler who enjoys swimming, biking, music and playing drums and computer games.
The future scientist/businessman credits his achievements to God’s guidance and his interest in math. “I also owe it to my intensive trainings, hard work and determination. And, of course, the relentless support of my parents, trainers, teachers, and friends”, he added.
“Math is fun. It is used daily in our life. Like what Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration”. Math just needs practice. Like any other sports, practice makes perfect”, the bubbly Kyler discloses.
It’s not only about winning
If you think that Kyler is the only math whiz in the family, then, you are in for a big surprise. His two other younger sisters, Chloe Kimberly (10 years old) and Chelsea Kristanna (8 years old) also won gold and silver medals, respectively, at the 2017 International Mathematics Wizard Challenge in Xiamen, China last summer.
Besides their innate talents in math and perseverance, a significant part of the siblings’ success is the all-out support of their parents, Kenneth Mark and Cristy Tan.
“I have to manage my time to be with them during their trainings and competition. I drive them every day during their trainings in Manila and maximize the summer by planning road and food trips during weekends. I also study and research on the places and countries they have to go to, to ensure their safety”, details Kenneth.
But, all these sacrifices are well worth it when Kenneth sees his kids enjoying themselves while learning. “It’s not always the winning that is the most important, as long as I know that they did their best in the competition”, he intimates.
What is the Tans’ secret in raising kids who love math?
“Show math as something fun and useful. Support your children and motivate them. You should have focus just like driving. There are many roads, detours or alternate routes that will lead you to your destination and like math, there are many solutions to solve a puzzle or reach a correct answer. The fun there is if you discover the shortcuts!”, the hands-on dad smiles.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on August 12, 2017.
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