Kevin, 11; Salim Lakhani, Instructor
When a group of adolescents face more than 100 global teams in a scientific challenge, competition can be fierce. Does luck determine the champion team? Not if you ask Kevin Reyes, an 11-year-old boy who was on the winning team. Their team, the Extremophiles, depicted an extreme environment when the earth’s atmosphere was saturated with carbon dioxide (CO2). To survive that environment and make that toxic air breathable, they devised equipment that separated the CO2 from oxygen using heat and centrifugal force. “Our team through a lot of hard work, team work, focus and dedication took first place with great distinction earning our prize by 22 points ahead of our competition,” says Kevin.
In the summer before beginning 4th grade, his parents enrolled him at their local Kumon Math & Reading Center in Colorado for enrichment in math. They saw an immediate change in his confidence as soon as he started the 4th grade.
Salim, Kevin’s Kumon Instructor, encouraged Kevin to set a G by 5 goal, which is a Kumon achievement of studying algebra (found in Kumon Math Level G) by the 5th grade. “I always made sure that he was at a comfortable (math) level and I talked to him about G by 5 to motivate him to continue with his Kumon work,” says Salim. Kevin appreciated the tips his Kumon Instructor gave him to become more efficient in his problem solving abilities.
In addition to the Destination Imagination (DI) Global Finals, Kevin received the 2014 DI Renaissance award for skill in engineering, design and performance. He was the mayor-elect in his school’s 2014 Ameritowne election and was given his school’s award for exemplary proficiency in the Spanish language. At Boy Scouts, he earned his archery merit badge in the summer of 2014. “Kumon gave me the discipline to be focused on everything that I do. Kumon has helped me concentrate and learn how to multitask and it has helped me a lot in my overall school work,” says Kevin.
“My son’s experience in Kumon helped him apply critical skillsets to his other activities,” says his mother. Kevin has not yet decided what he wants to be when he grows up. His parents want him to pursue his dreams and continue to the do the best he can. Kevin is contemplating a field using math and science skills, possibly as an engineer, inventor or partner of an accounting firm. In the meantime, he’s enjoying playing string and electric bass, squash, lacrosse and golf. He also loves to read. He has plenty of time to dabble in different areas of interest, and no doubt success is in his future.