Perseverance Helps This 9-Year-Old Figure Skater Make the Impossible Possible
Alvina, 9-years-old, Math Level K, Reading Level H
A typical 1st grader is learning how to tell time, count coins, and count to 100. They most likely don’t have homework every day, and when they do, it often involves large shapes, bright colors, and simple number exercises. This wasn’t enough for Alvina. At just six years old, she noticed a classmate bringing unfamiliar and advanced work to school, that he would complete during their breaks. Alvina learned this was daily worksheet study for the Kumon Math Program, and wanted in. She begged her parents to enroll her, and promised she was ready for the new commitment of homework every day on material she had never seen before. Just three years later, at age nine, Alvina is studying quadratic equations – advanced high school level math – after she spends the regular school day in the 4th grade with her peers.
“My desire and motivation to go beyond my grade to learn more than what I was being taught at school convinced my parents to enroll me in Kumon,” said Alvina. “I have since learned where my weaknesses are and how to persevere through them, which has increased my self-confidence while demonstrating that practice really does make perfect.”
Alvina is studying several years beyond her grade level through the Kumon Math Program, which has left her ample time to focus on her extracurricular passions. An avid figure skater, her dedication and extra time helped her achieve an award for most improved individual skater in her league. Off the ice, Alvina enjoys participating in church choir and drama club, practicing piano, scouting, and volunteering. She maintains a spot on the Spirit of Math National Mathematics Honor Roll, enjoys learning foreign languages, and has recently taken a liking to public speaking.
It’s clear that Alvina is always looking for a challenge and that doesn’t stop with her career aspirations. She hopes to become a veterinarian because she’d like to help animals who are suffering and unable to speak up like humans can.
“Kumon has helped me understand the importance of setting goals and working hard towards them, even if it takes many failures in the process,” said Alvina. “I now believe in myself no matter what and know that my hard work will lead to my future dreams coming true.”
Alvina was one of 56 young innovators from across North America selected to attend Kumon’s 3rd Annual Student Conference. She traveled to Chicago, Illinois for a day of critical thinking, connecting, and learning with Kumon students just like her.
What do you enjoy most about Kumon?
Since Kumon allows me to learn new material without limiting me by my age or school grade, I enjoy overcoming the challenging problems in the worksheets by pushing myself a bit further to test my ability.
How has Kumon helped you both in and out of the classroom?
Kumon has helped me get through my schoolwork easily and efficiently! It saves me time not having to struggle with my homework so that I have more time to explore other new things and expand my knowledge. Outside of the classroom, I am learning piano by myself without taking any piano class. I think this is very similar to the Kumon Method because Kumon taught me the benefit of self-learning. I seek out the information on how to play songs by myself. For instance, I learned how to read the notes on internet sites and some apps to guide me on how to play the tunes. Without my Kumon experience, I probably would not have attempted to self-learn how to play piano.
What achievements are you most proud of?
I strive to make the impossible possible! Last year, I received the “Most Improved Individual” at the Richmond Hill Figure Skating Club. I always want to take a step up the ladder to improve my skills, techniques, and knowledge – not only in skating, but in everything I learn. I am not only recognized by them, but also, I am my own “most improved” because of the effort I always contribute.
I am also proud of receiving the “Virtue of The Month – Perseverance” Certificate granted by my school to recognize my perseverance in the face of difficulties.
What advice would you give to kids just starting Kumon?
I would tell them not to give up, to try their best, and to take positive actions to patiently learn thoroughly. There is no fast track to success – accuracy and efficiency will play a part along the way.
What was your experience like at the Student Conference, and what was your favorite part?
My experience at the Student Conference was unforgettable; meeting and sharing learning ideas with other top students from not only different cities, but also countries, really opened my eyes. My favorite part was when I went up to the stage and presented my submitted answer to everyone in the conference room.
Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
My biggest inspiration is meeting with Abby Chen at the Kumon Student Conference. I am impressed that she’s not only good at Kumon and academics, but that she also worked so hard to achieve her goal to be a professional ballet dancer. She managed everything (time, spirit, and energy) so well and made her dream a reality.