I taught this colourful character (he chose the photo above himself) two times. The first time was in PE 10 (yes, I taught PE a couple times when I first came to KG). Dimitri was not the most attentive PE student. I can't remember how many times I'd be trying to start class and Dimitri would be bouncing the basketball, bouncing the basketball, bouncing the basketball... STOP!!! PLEASE!! JUST!!! STOP!!
The next year, I taught him in PreCalculus 11. He was an entirely different student. Focused, motivated and eager to learn (math seems to bring the best out of people). What a relief.
My #1 memory of Dimitri (which I have shared with many students already): Dimitri was (and is) an extraordinary skier. He used to miss LOTS of school; weeks at a time when he would be at some training camp or race. When he returned he always made a point of coming to see me to find out what he missed (there were no videos to watch on wadgemath.com back then). Inevitably, our conversation would go something like this:
D: Hey Wadge. What did I miss?
Me: Oh, we did a really difficult section on Completing the Square.
D: OK, what's it all about?
Me: we are trying to change this polynomial into a perfect square trinomial. Then we will be able to factor it. The first step is to move the constant to the other side of the equation...
D: Hey! Then we can add 12 to both sides and there will be a perfect square trinomial. Great! Thanks Wadge.
Me: No wait! We're not done. And it gets way harder with fractions...
D: No problem. Gotta go. See you Wadge!
And, as much as I worried, he always DID understand. A topic that normally took two days, Dimitri learned in 2 minutes. To this day, I don't know how he did that! Obviously, this guy is one talented math student.
So what's he doing now? In his own words:
"My plans for the future are way bigger than I could have ever imagined they would be just a couple of years in the past. I plan to finish my Civil Engineering degree (whether at UBC or not I am undecided) and then go enjoy skiing and ski racing for a couple of years. Following that, I plan to return to the Civil Engineering job field, and after 4 years of
experience apply to become a P.Eng (Professional Engineer). Finally, although it is a bit of a long shot, I may continue into post-graduate studies and get a Masters of Applied Science with specialization in Structural Engineering."
Wow! Big plans! And I have no doubt that all these plans will become realities. Even the M.A.Sc. plan. "Long shot?" Pfffft!!
Dimitri, I am a little overwhelmed by your athletic and intellectual prowess (not to mention those wicked good looks of yours - hehehe). But best of all is your laid-back and jovial nature. You were always friendly and kind to me and I certainly appreciated it.
I am so proud of you for chasing after your dreams - in engineering, in skiing, in life! It is a great reminder for the rest of us to pursue the things we love in life.
I wish you all the best!