Kumon Student Uses Her Creativity to Give Back to Those in Need
14-years-old, Math Level N
14-year-old Gabrielle is a compassionate high schooler with a desire to help those in need. She has developed many skills throughout her nine years in the Kumon Math Program, but she emphasized that it made her into an independent and creative thinker.
“The skills I have learned in the Kumon Math Program have led me to take advanced classes in science and math,” said Gabrielle.
She has various academic achievements, including receiving departmental awards in all of her classes, winning first and fifth place in regional and and state competitions in the math portion of academic decathalon, and getting eleventh place in the California state geography bee.
“Outside of the classroom, Kumon has taught me how to have an efficient, organized work ethic. The experience I had with balancing Kumon and school when I was younger has helped me to take on more extracurricular activities.”
Gabrielle has played competitive volleyball since fifth grade, and plays on both a club team and her school’s junior varsity team. She is also a member of her school’s mock trial team which won the county competition last year. The team was preparing to compete at the state level before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gabrielle’s creative thinking skills can also be seen in her passion for art. She took a year of studio art before enrolling in the advanced class. Her passion led her to become the treasurer of the school’s branch of the National Art Honor Society. This is a group that connects teens around the country through their interest in the arts.
“In my art class last year, I painted a watercolor of an Amabie, a Japanese spirit of protection against illness, in support of ending the coronavirus pandemic. My artwork was chosen by the Arts Council Napa Valley to be featured on masks that were to be distributed to local art teachers, and I have the opportunity to publish it in a local children’s collection of art. I feel proud of this opportunity to support my community in this difficult time.”
She has also participated in the Memory Project, a program in which high school students draw the portraits of disadvantaged children from countries around the world. Giving back to the community is something Gabrielle consistently strives to do, especially while incorporating her creativity.
Her biggest inspiration is Mother Teresa. Gabrielle said, “Canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church and a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, she sacrificed so much to do good in the lives of others. Her story not only teaches me to be grateful for the opportunities that I have, but also to be compassionate and do the right thing to give back to the community and the world.”
Gabrielle has been involved in charity knitting and crocheting projects since middle school. She participated in Beanies For Babies in which she and other students knitted hats for babies in need.
This year, she even started her own knitting club for high schoolers with the mission to give back. One Stitch at a Time: Knitters For a Cause is a club in which Gabrielle and the co-leaders teach others how to knit. The finished pieces are then donated to local charities providing warmth and comfort.
Her career plans further reveal her compassion and determination to help other people. Gabrielle said, “ever since I was little, I have wanted to be a doctor, specifically a heart surgeon or an ophthalmologist.”
Learn more about Gabrielle’s experience with the Kumon Math Program:
What do you enjoy most about Kumon?
I most enjoy the satisfaction of finishing each level in Kumon and preparing to tackle the next one! Each level covers different material and has its own difficulties, and I truly enjoy learning something new with each assignment.
What is the most beneficial thing you’ve learned in Kumon thus far?
My ability to problem-solve and think independently is definitely the most beneficial thing I have learned from Kumon. As the teaching style of Kumon relies heavily on individual learning, I have developed the skills in thinking creatively and applying prior knowledge, resisting the urge to immediately ask someone for help. This has helped me not only in Kumon, but also in my schoolwork, while taking tests, and in tutoring other students in various subjects.
How do you continue to stay motivated in Kumon even when works becomes challenging?
When Kumon becomes challenging, I find it helpful to sit myself down and carve out a specific amount of time in my schedule and reserve it just for Kumon. With school and other activities, sometimes it feels as though Kumon just gets lost in the fray, but when I make a conscious effort to devote even a short amount of time to my work, I can chip away at it a bit at a time and do my best to learn the various concepts.
What advice would you give to kids just starting Kumon?
My advice is to stick with it and learn to find balance! I will admit, managing Kumon, school, and other extracurriculars was difficult for me when I first started. However, after only a few months passed, I was able to see how much I had learned in Kumon and how much of it was truly applicable to my schoolwork and real-life situations. Now, as a sophomore in high school, I cannot imagine that I would be able to pursue my interest in math and science at the level I do today if I did not continue with Kumon to learn both academic and life-long skills.