Math Wiz Kid
By Cedie Salido
Mathematics is the science that deals with logic and shape. It’s a subject that involves numbers, problem solving, and strategic formulations. Oftentimes, people find it hard to appreciate math as it is. But not for 14-year-old Mico Xander Dela Cruz Rubico, a math wizard from Laguna.
Mico has earned recognition here and abroad. A recipient of high distinction certification of the Australian Mathematics Competition, he was also the all-over champion in the 2017 China Primary Math Olympiad. He won a bronze medal in Mathematics Without Border Tournament 2019 in Bulgaria last February, as well as a silver medal from the recently held Hong Kong International Mathematics Olympiad.
These are just a few of the awards this math wiz has garnered over the years. When asked about how his love for Math started, Mico says it all began with a wooden puzzle when he was still a few years old. “I’ve loved mathematics ever since. It’s like a game to me,” he said.
Mico’s participation in inter-school competitions started at the annual Metrobank MTAP-DepEd Math Challenge (MMC) where he represented his school. Later on, the 14-year-old was chosen to compete in international competitions in Hong Kong.
Preparing for upcoming competitions can be tedious. Aside from self-studying, Mico also attends review sessions with his teacher, as well as series of trainings. “My family cannot afford to hire a tutor since our needs are always a priority. But a doctor told my parents to allow me to nurture my talent and skill. That’s why when there are training and opportunities, they always do everything they can to let me join,” he says.
What Mico finds most fascinating about math is its relevance to daily life. “There is math everywhere,” he says. “From the moment you jump out of bed and look at your clock, there is math. When you turn off your fan, there is math. When you cook your meals and fix the temperature, there is math.”
His advice for other kids who wish to excel in school is for them to pursue their interests, saying than education doesn’t only happen in the classroom. The 14-year-old believes exploring other fields is a great way to discover one’s full potential.
“Education is not only about academics. It also includes exploring other fields like sports, singing, and many more,” he says. “We are all unique. We have different talents and things to offer. It is best if we use education to find these and also use education to nurture our talents in the field we excel in. Most important, let’s put these talents to good use.”
Learning is something that Mico truly values. He stresses that knowledge shouldn’t be measured based on grades but the important lessons that can be gleaned from inside and outside the classrooms. He believes education is all about learning the important lessons one will need in life, instead of basing it on standardized tests to see which student knows more.
Despite his young age, Mico has shown a deeper understanding of the world around him. Having that certain awareness has taught him that life has more complicated problems to solve and this sad reality inspires him to lend a helping hand to those in need. “I believe that mathematics could help me in my goal of becoming a future leader in our country. I want to see the youth working together for their future. I want to see parents or adults helping each other to preserve nature. I want to be an instrument to make these things come true.”