Kiersten Candice Sy, 13, and Kylaine Trisha Sy, 7, won gold in the recently concluded Siam International Math and Science Olympics (Simso) in their respective categories: Kiersten in the Simso Mathematics Primary 6 category, and is ranked top in the Philippines; and Kylaine, in the Primary 1 level. Both won silver in their respective levels in the Simso Science contest.
Their mother, dentist Catherine, said the contest was done online, with contestants closeted in their rooms where no one was allowed to enter and where precautions were made to ensure the participants could not cheat or be coached in any manner: Any interference would make the contestant drop out of the contest.
Kiersten is in Grade 7 at the Cebu City National Science High School. She showed interest in Mathematics at an early age. She was around six years old when she started solving math problems, which she considers as completing a jigsaw puzzle. Kiersten also received a gold medal when she ranked seventh (Category 1 for Grade 5-6 level) in the Copernicus Natural Science Olympiad. She was invited to go to Texas for another Copernicus contest but she is currently unvaccinated yet so her attendance is not yet sure.
Her first time to compete was in the Metrobank-MTAP-DepEd Math Challenge, which is an annual competition aimed at raising the math competitiveness of elementary and high school students. She was then in Grade 1 and she topped in the Visayas.
Aside from their Simso medals, the two also won in the Philippine International Math and Science Olympics–Science by International Champions in Education, an international competition in Mathematics and Science accredited by the Department of Education (DepEd). Kiersten has also received DepEd’s achievement awards and has been a DOST (Department of Science and Technology) YES (Youth in Science) medalist for two years.
Kiersten attends the Saturday sessions, when offered, of the Math Teachers Guild, a group which invites students to compete in international Math competitions.
The sisters, despite their love for joining Math and Science contests, are like most other girls of their age. Kiersten is into origami and is taking art lessons, and, says her Mom, is also doing well in the arts. Kiersten also takes care of her siblings during her free time. And, of course, she finds time for her gadgets. Dr. Sy describes her as “the type of girl who is innocent but motivated to learn.” Also, when training for competitions, she does not forget to pray.
Kylaine is in Grade 2 in Cebu Eastern College. Her Mom describes her as “disciplined in so far as doing her school work. She is very organized and sleeps and wakes up on time.” She is fascinated with puzzles and brick games and her Barbie dolls. Because of her sister’s achievements, she also decided to join competitions even at a very young age.
When many students consider Mathematics difficult, the Sy sisters find it exciting and fascinating and their achievements in competitions show they really know their math. With the support of their parents—businessman Steven and Dr. Catherine Sy—the duo will surely shine in the competitions they want to join in the future.