Defying All Odds: This Kumon Student is Headed to the Special Olympics

Defying All Odds: This Kumon Student is Headed to the Special Olympics

Rhea on the podium at the Special Olympics

Our founder, Toru Kumon, once said “Give it a try! Or you will never discover your true potential.”

Meet Rhea. She stepped outside of her comfort zone, gave it a try and fell in love with the sport of gymnastics. Today, she’s the New Jersey State Champion for Gymnastics, Level 3, and will be representing her state at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, Washington this July. As an all-around gymnast, Rhea will compete on the beam, the bars apparatus, vault and floor exercise.

After Rhea was diagnosed with a learning disability at five years old, her parents decided to enroll her in Kumon because they felt the structured approach would really help her both academically and socially.

“I was amazed by how quickly we saw improvements—they were apparent within a month and have been consistent ever since,” said Rhea’s mother Rekha. “Not only was she able to start following lessons in class without becoming frustrated, but she also developed improved social skills.”

Rhea’s Kumon Instructor, Rinku Kapur, refers to her as their “shining star” and boy does she live up to that name.

Rhea Special Olympics Portrait

She’s fully grasped the self-learning approach and has incorporated structure into every aspect of her daily life, which is imperative with the schedule that she maintains. Between the intense training for the upcoming Special Olympics, school work, Kumon studies and her other extracurricular activities, time management has been key for Rhea.

“We are so appreciative of the entire Kumon family, but especially for Rinku,” said Rekha. “She took it upon herself to make sure our daughter was successful and we are so grateful for that. Because of her, Rhea has overcome her academic hurdles, learned to be organized and structured and developed a sense of accountability and responsibility that she’ll use for the rest of her life.”

The motto of the Special Olympics—“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”—is about finding the courage to give it your all. If you saw Rhea perform, you’d see that she exudes confidence in gymnastics. We look forward to following her continued success.