## Achievement Award For a Twister

March 25, 2013 by Omar Upegui R.

Abdiel, the oldest of the three Twisters, is not exactly what you would call a brilliant student. He is not the brightest kid in the classroom and his grades are not straight As. I would say he’s in the middle of the pack, struggling to get a passing grade. That’s okay as long as he shows a disposition to learn and keep hanging in there so to speak.

Lately Abdiel was having problems with his multiplication tables. In Panama it’s mandatory for fifth-grade students to learn the multiplication tables from one to twelve. Then follows the torture of fractions and algebra in fifth and sixth grade. This knowledge will be basic for **Calculus** and **Statistics** in college. That’s where the stuff hits the fan. Even though I’m pretty good with numbers, I almost flunk in Statistics and Calculus**. ** In order to get a passing grade I had to hire a Hindu mentor. He did a fine job and showed me the way. I saw the light and the rest is history.

Yesterday, Sunday, March 24, 2013, Abdiel passed the final test on the multiplication subject. He passed the test with flying colors. Not a single mistake. I was already expecting that and had prepared an **Accomplishment Award** to celebrate the occasion. Now he’s ready to tackle simple and compound fractions and elements of algebra. I know he will do well; if not, I’ll be there as a safety net.

Below is Abdiel with his flamboyant **Achievement Award. ** He’s on his way in becoming a college student. I hope I’m still around to cherish the moment. Here we go.

Snapshot of Abdiel, the oldest of the Twisters, proudly holding his hard-earned diploma. Now he’s on his way to tackle simple and compound fractions. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Snapshot of Abdiel’s Achievement Award. It reads, “In recognition for all the efforts and dedication demonstrated while learning the twelve multiplication tables.” Signed by Yours Truly. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Numbers are not arid or boring. They can be fun and interesting if you are able to play games with the students showing them creative methods of learning. I think we succeeded in doing that with Abdiel. Good Day.

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on March 25, 2013 at 10:45 pm |shoreacresHow wonderful! Please give Abdiel my congratulations as well! Tell him that, if I’d had his grandfather for a math instructor, I might have learned a good bit more than I did, much earlier!

You’re really to be commended for the time you spend helping the kids. They’re lucky to have you.

on March 26, 2013 at 7:29 am |Omar Upegui R.Morning Linda:

Will certainly give Abdiel your message. He will wonder where in the world is Texas. Never been outside of Panama or ridden on a plane.

Since we couldn’t have kids, the Twisters are very much like our adopted children. It’s nice to have them around. They need us as much as we need them—it’s reciprocal.

Warm Regards,

Omar.-

on March 27, 2013 at 6:16 am |oldsalt1942I am a mathematical dyslexic. Sure I can add, subtract and do that simple stuff, but algebra simply eluded me. Made no sense at all. I mean, A + B = X except for those times when A + B = Y. What? Where did X go? The only “math” course I “got” was geometry. I aced it! And the reason was simple. I could visualize it. I “SAW” what was going on unlike the mysterious and arcane algebra. I’m so bad at math that when I transferred from my first college to the University of Miami and had to take a battery of placement tests I got one of the SAMPLE problems wrong on the math test.

If I could tell Abdiel anything that would be comforting about math confusion it would be this: in the more than half century since I took my last math course I could have actually used algebra maybe TWICE!

on March 27, 2013 at 7:41 am |Omar Upegui R.Morning Richard:

You are so right. I don’t recall one instance I’ve used Calculus in my life, but if I didn’t pass that course there was no way I could receive my Business Administration degree. Algebra, is different. It’s useful when you are trying to reach logical conclusions involving several variables. It happens in real life all the time.

Take Care,

Omar.-