This week's Student of the Week is Fernanda VH!! (send a photo over FVH! I'll post it here for posterity).
I first heard about Fernanda from other teachers. Surprise... we really DO talk about you (sometimes) in the staff room. I kept hearing about this amazing / wonderful / lovely / etc student named Fernanda. "The Mexican One" they would often add. Hehehe. Ms Sidhu, especially, would always tell me "you'll love Fernanda". And you know how much I respect Ms Sidhu!!! So it was not a shocker when (once she ended up in my class in PreCalculus 10) I actually DID (very quickly) come to think nothing but great things about Fernanda. Such a warm personality! So responsible and hardworking! And an amazing sense of humour to top it all off! We have had lots of good chats (and laughs) about so many topics: Mexico, Secret Daddy, Fernanda's boyfriend, even Math sometimes! Fernanda is such an easy person to talk to. She always seems interested in what you have to say and she is full of interesting facts and wellthoughtout opinions. So proud of you, Fernanda, for everything you have overcome and everything you have (already) accomplished in your young life. REALLY wishing you would stick around next year but I guess this "GRAD" thing means you might want to go elsewhere (UBC!! Congrats!) next year. So much respect and love for you FVH! All the best and stay in touch! Congratulations Stash and Chaucer (tied for first place in grade 11) and Yasmin and Narihiro (top 25% in Canada). Picture of Rintaro still to come. In the mean time, here is a picture of Chaucer and I dancing.
A pair of mathematicians from Australia and France have devised a new way to multiply numbers together, while solving an algorithmic puzzle that has perplexed some of the greatest math minds for almost half a century. For most of us, the way we multiply relatively small numbers is by remembering our times tables – an incredibly handy aid first pioneered by the Babylonians some 4,000 years ago. But what if the numbers get bigger? Well, if the figures get unwieldy – and assuming we don't have a calculator or computer, of course – most of us would then turn to long multiplication: another useful trick we learn in school, and a trusty technique for multiplying basically any two numbers together. There's just one problem with long multiplication. It's slow. Jason Padgett sees maths everywhere. Even something as ordinary as brushing his teeth is governed by mathematics – he turns the tap on and dips his toothbrush into the water 16 times.
“I don’t know why I like perfect squares,” he says. “It’s not just a perfect square, it’s two to the power of four or four squared but I just like perfect squares…I automatically do that stuff with everything.” Padgett is so obsessed with maths and understands such complex concepts, he's been called a genius. He certainly has a rare talent for drawing repeating geometric patterns – known as fractals – by hand. But the former futon salesman from Alaska hasn’t always had a way with numbers. Just under 17 years ago he was living a very different life in Tacoma, Washington. This week's Student of the Week is Minh Anh P!
The first time I taught Minh Anh was a very unique situation. Minh Anh was in grade 9 and had demonstrated mastery of the Math 9 and 10 curriculum. As such, the decision was made to move her to a PreCalculus 11 class. Unfortunately, there were no classes that fit with her timetable. Our solution was to have Minh Anh come to my classroom during my Prep block. She learned all of the material on her own (using my videos) and would ask me for assistance / clarification when needed. Minh Anh impressed me in so many ways during this experience. The level of responsibility and maturity she displayed (even as a grade 9 student) was incredible. Minh Anh rarely asked me for support and basically learned the entire course (a TOUGH course!) on her own. And, in spite of this, she ended up with an extremely high mark (like REALLY high). Not only is Minh Anh an amazing student (that's her receiving one of her several Math Contest awards in the photo above) but she is also a great person. Kind. Interesting. Great sense of humour! Thanks, Minh Anh, for all your great work in my class. I know that the future has big things in store for you and I wish you nothing but the best! Good luck, wherever you end up and whatever you choose to do! The number of women who enter mathematics Ph.D. programs is still significantly lower than men. Women in ethnic minority groups make up an even smaller percentage of such programs. According to a 2019 report by the National Science Foundation, while almost (but not quite) half of all math degrees go to women, that percentage drops significantly once you reach the doctorate level. In 2016, about 42 percent of the people who earned an undergrad degree in mathematics and statistics were women, but just 28.5 percent of those who earned a doctorate were.
This week's Student of the Week is Allison V!!
I remember clearly the first time I ever encountered Allison. It was a couple of years ago, and I had been asked to supervise an Interact meeting for Ms Groombridge. It was in Ms Sidhu's classroom and I was sitting somewhere near the window, kind of zoning out a little. The meeting was a bit disorganized but things were slowly getting done. Then this one grade 10 girl I had never met before spoke up. She was so clear and wellspoken and selfassured! She was speaking in a way that elicited ACTION ("I will do this". "We can start by doing...", etc). I was struck by her leadership abilities and her communication skills. I leaned over to someone (Ms Kam, perhaps) and asked who it was. "Oh, that's Allison V!". What a first impression she made on me! I was so happy, therefore, when I got to teach Allison the following year, in PreCalculus 11. And she didn't disappoint. She was an enthusiastic, determined, and responsible student. Plus, she was ALWAYS superkind to me and fun to joke around with (Allison has a great sense of humour). One highlight from last year was when we worked a trade out: some of my home"made" (or at least "canned") tomatoes for some of Allison's moms salsa!! So yummy! Thanks Mama V! And thanks Allison for organizing! This year Allison is one of my CS students. It's always good to have one "artistic" CS. And (I think Betty, Lara, and Kelsey would agree) this year that person is Allison. Know the posters that are all over my walls? Well Allison has made LOTS of those... and in record time. She is one speedy artiste! She impressed me so much one day: she was making a poster and I noticed that she had made a mistake (spelling? I can't remember). I told her very apologetically about her mistake, expecting her to groan / grumble / etc. Instead, without a moments pause, she picked up a different colour pencil crayon (actually one of my World Famous Mathematical Colouring Sticks) and proceeded to colour over her mistake and simultaneously turn it into a picture that was totally relevant to the poster itself!!! True mastery!! The girls got a gift! Allison, we have shared many great chats over the past couple of years. Thank you for the times you have shared with me, the good laughs, and even a few tears along the way (from both of us!). They say that you can tell a lot about a person in the first moments that you meet them and  in your case  it was true! I knew in the first moments I saw you that you were a unique, powerful, and special person. May you never change! All the best in the years ahead! Love you, A.V.!! 
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