Star Student Channels Her Determination to Perform to the Best of Her Ability
Nancy, 12-years-old, Math Level J
At 12-years-old, many would say that Nancy’s values are aligned with those of adults more than twice her age. While many of her peers count down the minutes to the end of the school day, Nancy uses that time to challenge herself consistently – and that doesn’t stop when school bell rings. This sixth grader’s week is packed with juggling numerous extracurricular activities and commitments. Although the activities differ greatly, Nancy’s focus and dedication remain consistent across the board.
She has particularly developed a love for Greek Classic Dance, a passion that she has pursued since just three years old. Although Nancy is the youngest performer in her group, she channels her discipline and perseverance to keep up with her team.
“I break the dance steps into parts, just like in a math problem, in order to master the performance,” said Nancy. “Every Sunday, I look forward to going to dance practice because I enjoy learning something new or perfecting something old, just like I do each week in Kumon.”
Nancy attributes much of her drive to her time in the Kumon Math Program. Her parents enrolled her in Kumon when she was only six years old, and she has since advanced to studying three years beyond her grade level. A goal that keeps her motivated to finish the program, is the possibility of giving back and helping others develop a love for learning.
“I want to finish the Kumon Math Program early so that I can become a Kumon Assistant,” said Nancy. “I learned that I want to give back to my peers by helping them better understand math.”
When she’s not perfecting her Greek Dance technique, Nancy also does competitive swimming and diving, competitive soccer and basketball, sings in a choir, and participates in band. One of her favorite activities though, is volunteering in her community, whether it is reading books to kindergarten classes, singing at nursing homes, or dancing at hospital fundraisers.
Nancy is committed to unlocking her full potential, no matter what she’s doing. Beyond her hopes of becoming a Kumon Assistant and Ambassador to help students better understand math, she has plans to continue helping others in a different way.
“From a very young age, I have always wanted to become an Orthodontist. My mom told me that I used to sit in front of a mirror, take a necklace, place it in front of my teeth and pretend I was wearing braces.” said Nancy. “My dream is to one day make braces accessible to everyone. A healthy and beautiful smile benefits people both physically and mentally.”
It’s no surprise that Nancy was chosen to attend Kumon’s 3rd Annual Student Conference along with 55 of her peers from across North America. She had the opportunity to travel to Chicago with her family to connect with like-minded Kumon Students that share the same passion for learning and growing.
We had a chance to speak with Nancy about her passions, Kumon experience, and more.
What do you enjoy most about Kumon?
The challenge! Kumon helps me stay motivated. The harder the level and the more challenging, the more eager I am to finish. I stay motivated by knowing it is a challenge. Kumon is helping me now and I know it will help me in the future.
How has Kumon helped in the classroom?
Academically, Kumon has taught me to be a self-learner, work independently, identify mistakes and in essence, has helped me develop good learning habits in all subjects. I am more confident now in school and in life. Kumon has also taught me to be less stressed, to concentrate, and to focus more on an end result. Before I started Kumon, I always got distracted easily. Now, I organize my thoughts, accurately assess the situation and tackle the problem head-on. Practice makes perfect. Repetition is key with everything in life.
What achievements are you most proud of?
I am proud of all my achievements because I work equally as hard for them. Kumon has taught me to always give it my 100% and to never give up. I have won Gold in Regional Swimming Freestyle Competitions, Bronze in Regional Diving Competitions, School Banners in Soccer, Medals in Basketball, participated in the 3rd Annual Kumon Student Conference, completed the Red Cross Badge at the age of 10, but my proudest achievement of all, is one which I can pass down to my grandchildren – a book! In 2018 my poem entitled “EBNDS”, a rendition of “My School Life Experience,” was chosen by the Poetry Institute of Canada to be published in their upcoming anthology of verse “Friends of the Forest”, National Library of Canada. Any achievement one does, big or small, should always be celebrated!
What advice would you give to kids just starting Kumon?
Don’t give up! You may not think it is important in the beginning, especially since you are doing addition and subtraction which seem so easy, but once you get ahead of your classmates, you will start to feel confident, worthy, and proud of your newly found math skills.
What was your experience like at the Student Conference, and what was your favorite part?
It was unforgettable and will be an experience I will cherish forever! I entered a ballroom full of positive energy, brilliant minds, and young students who share the same passion as me – math! All of the students were eager to share their thoughts and stories about their personal Kumon experience. I met two new friends, whom I still keep in touch with to this day.
Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
My mom! Most people would probably answer: Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela, Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, or Tesla. Not me! My biggest inspiration is my mom. She is always there for me to inspire me, encourage me, praise me, feed me, love me, reprimand me, study with me, laugh with me, drive me, nurture me, motivate me, guide me and accept me! She is the one that waits in the Kumon waiting area for me to finish and always asks, “how did it go?” I look forward to that question, because it shows how much my mom cares. I love my mom so much!