Thursday, April 27, 2017

Alex's Dinner And Movie - Gifted



Song:  Morning Has Broken

Artist:  Cat Stevens 


On this night we went to have a quick all you can eat sushi dinner...
and we then went to the late showing of the movie 'Gifted'.

And...
although the movie is well worth watching...
and it is a touching story of a gifted child in a custody battle...
it didn't touch on too much of the elements of the gifted child.

This is what Alex wanted to see...
as well as his mother.

I really wasn't all that interested as
I have lived through Alex's life...
well...all of his life  :)

So for me...
it turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

I thought it would be more of a documentary...
but it turned out to be a very nice story.

(all of the photos were taken by my wife with her iPhone).


We ate at this Japanese restaurant.

We had all you can eat sushi...
and then just walked around the corner to the movie theater.


 Although this movie theater is much smaller than the IMAX theater where my mother and I 
had recently seen the movie 'Born In China'...
it still had some comfortable reclining seats.



 When we had arrived...
we were the only ones there.

However, shortly thereafter...
another four people showed up.

It was a 9:50 PM showing.


The screen was much smaller than the IMAX screen...
but it was adequate.

Whenever I go to the movies...
I always try to see them at the IMAX theaters.

This particular movie wasn't playing there...so...


---------------


It was good for Alex to get out for a night of relaxation.

He has been studying a lot lately.

He still has many major exams coming up soon.

He is also going to the ARML Nationals as part of the NNV Math Club Competition team
in Las Vegas, in a little over a month.


---------------


This movie had touched on a controversial topic as to the value 
that socialization of a gifted child plays in his/her life.

This has always been a hot topic ever since we learned of Alex's giftedness.

What many do not realize is that a gifted child's peers should be his intellectual peers...
not necessarily his age group peers.

Plus...
it also heavily depends on if the child is introverted or extroverted.

Alex is introverted...
as are his mother, and I.

Much too much emphasis is placed on "socialization".

What is unnatural is to try to force a child who is introverted...
to act as if he were extroverted.

Many gifted children crave solitude.

They do...
however, love being around their intellectual peers...
ones whom they can discuss topics of their mutual interests.

However...
many simply wish to be around them for a few hours...
only wishing to have much alone time to recharge.


Most in society looks upon a person who loves to be alone as strange.

I have found that a man who prefers his own company
over the company of most others...
to be a far better man.

He knows what he wants...
and he revels in the planning and execution of his life plans.

While he will readily mix in with a group of mature individuals...
it is for a relatively short period of time...
and he then wishes to further pursue his goals in life.

A person who closely observes his surroundings and ponders on them...
instead of talking of mostly inconsequential topics with others...
is a person who values life far more.

He thinks more deeply and sincerely.

He is an introvert.

It is really simple...
the more you talk...
the less you may truly listen and observe.

I value the person of far fewer words...
but of far more thought...
and of far more efficient and effective actions towards his goals.








Monday, April 24, 2017

ARML Local - End Of Year NNV Math Club Award Dinner



Song:  The Time Will Come

By:  Phoenix Music



The Local ARML competition took place at UNR yesterday.

This was for all of the members of NNV Math club to vie for an opening on the team
going to the ARML Nationals in Las Vegas in a little over a month.


The testing took many hours.


As there was still time before the contest ended...
I sat outside and looked up at the clouds.

There were a lot of things going on in the sky on this day.

Although the winds were relatively calm on the ground...
there were rapid divergent winds on high...
and so, a much greater probability of rapidly changing images forming.

As, from my perspective, these moments were fleeting, since clouds from differing altitudes
were moving in differing directions, I was still able to capture some of the many tigers...
great winged fire breathing dragons, one Ankylosaurus battling a Tyrannosaurus...
and many headshots of many great beasts in the sky.


A White Tiger in mid stride...
his head lowered as he is gathering momentum
and storing energy in his sinews just before his final charge and subsequent great leap
at his most dangerous foe...
another white tiger which is threatening his family's very survival 
in an attempt to take his territory 
(a rogue predatory beast of whom lives to destroy and steal from others...
instead of building a better life for himself).

 (In my world...
a White Tiger lives in tight family units for life...
 he lives for his family...
 revels in the hunt...
and for the prospect of justified combat...
as he is assertive...not aggressive :)


A winged fire breathing dragon in flight, with a dragon rider mounted atop.

You can see the bat winged creature spewing
his flamed breath from his great open maw.

You may see the fangs of this creature if you look closely.

You may even see the correctly angled and air filled wings 
amid the dragon's powerful downstroke...
as it hovers to deliver a ball of flame.

The Dragon Rider is an archer...
and he is holding his bow at the low ready position.

I had a great time looking up at the sky until the competition had come to an end.
The clouds had so many stories to tell.

----------

After the competition...
we had an hour's wait...
and we then drove to the end of the year NNV Math Club dinner and awards.

This is where they made the announcement for the team members going to the
ARML Nationals this year...
as determined by the earlier competition.


The math club setting up for the ceremony.


We sat down and awaited the initiation of the ceremony.



We were about to begin.


The first event was...
eating.


Alex and I were sitting with other ARML team members.


Sherry Griffin...
the founder of the NNV Math Club...starting things off.


This senior member of the club had been the awards announcer.

He has been one of the driving forces at NNV Math Club.

He was always sharing his knowledge with others...
and he always helped out the younger members.

He had placed second in the earlier competition.

I had talked with him before this event.

He was just accepted to one of the world's greatest Math and Science universities
(among others which had accepted him).

In a few months...
he will be off to live in the dorms of this great institution.

He was positively beaming the whole night.

This is the time of year where the students get their acceptance and rejection letters
from their university applications.

By this time next year...
Alex will have gotten his.



This is a picture of this year's ARML Nationals Team from NNV.



Alex had tied for third place at the local ARML competition.


This is the youngest team ever fielded from NNV.

Many of the members are new to the club.

Alex is standing in the background.


We are getting ready to go back home here.


We were almost home here.


After arriving at home...
Alex had shown us some interesting documents he had received
as part of the end of year awards.

Each member of the team had been recognized by Nevada's Senators...
and by its Governor.






It was nice for the children of the NNV Math Club to have been recognized by the State of Nevada.

The founder of NNV Math Club has really worked hard to nurture and grow her math club.

She really excels in reaching out to the community and making the social
and business connections necessary to support her endeavor.



Alex received this award for all of the volunteer work he has done in helping out 
in teaching at the math camps and with organizing and putting on his own math competition.


Although there is still the ARML Nationals next month...
and Alex's own math competition the month after...
Alex has been winding down on his math competitions.

This year...
besides having been ill for many months...
Alex has been spending many more hours on his school work in this all important year
that a 3rd year high school student must really work extra long and hard on...
as in a few months...
Alex will be submitting his university applications...
and his 3rd year high school achievements will be the ones the universities 
will be judging the most closely.

So...this year...
Alex's math competitions were put on the back burner...
as he had been studying for his ACTs and SATs...
his advanced classes and exams...
and for, especially...
his SAT II Physics exam...
coming shortly.

Also...
this summer...
Alex will attempt to work at a local private math school...
and he will be preparing his university application essays.

Although Alex's GPA and various ACT and SAT scores speak for themselves...
it will be the essays to the universities which will either...
set him apart from the pack...
or put him squarely in the pack.

Alex will really have to prepare and write his essays well...
as each university usually has its own question or questions...
from which the essay will be judged.

As Alex will be shooting for the stars...
while it is our hope that he will reach them in the form of acceptance letters
from his top choice universities...
he may well not...
as we have been reading about many very talented students
with exceptional resumes being rejected by all of the top universities.

Alex...
as well as we, his parents...
are prepared for the many rejection letters almost all students receive.

However...
 we are also confident...
that while Alex may not reach the stars of the university world...
he will still reach the moon...
and it will then be a matter of distinguishing himself through his work there...
and later, in graduate school.

Either way...
Alex will never give up.

Alex will achieve his ultimate dream of becoming 
a College or University professor of Math...
and an author of many books.

The major life milestones we know Alex will achieve:

1)  A good math university

2)  Earning his Ph. D in Mathematics

3)  Publishing his first book

4)  Most of all...
living his life fully...
and well...
and which will, hopefully, include...
a daughter in law for us to gratefully accept as our own daughter...
and Grandchildren for us to dote on  :)





Saturday, April 15, 2017

An Interesting English Assignment: Design Your Own Test


Song:  Spring Waltz

Composer:  Frederic Chopin



One of Alex's recent English class assignments involved having to pick
a short story and to design his own test on the story.

It took Alex about four hours to pick out and read the 30 page story...
and to then design and type out his test.

I found this assignment to be interesting.

One of the favorite methods in the Army in getting a soldier to learn 
topics in the military is to have them have to give a class on it.

This forces the soldier to do a lot of research beforehand...
 in order for him to be able to teach it to others.

This method of active learning is so effective because in forcing the student 
to become a teacher, he has to dissect and thoroughly understand each component...
and how everything interrelates...and he then has to be able to relay this information
in a fashion which is not only conceptualized and reasonable, but prioritized.












Alex is now studying for his AP Micro Economics class.

I was surprised at the amount of math involved in this class.

Of course, math is Alex's strong point...
so, he has no problem in this class.

Me...
I struggled to get a passing grade in my Statistics class at university...
precisely because math is my weakest area  :)

(Where did Alex get his mathematical capabilities?
Both, my father, and my wife's father...were engineers.
My father...Electrical...her father...Civil).







Thursday, April 13, 2017

Alex's First Published Article - A Rewrite


Song:  We've Only Just Begun

Group:  The Carpenters


Last week...
Alex's English teacher had asked him to re-write a short biography 
of the student artist Marissa as shown below...
for publication in a Reno Newspaper.

There were two articles...
one by Rafael, and this one by Alex.

Alex loves to write reviews.

While this wasn't a full interview and write up as I had envisioned it would be...
it was still an honor for Alex to have been asked to do the re-write.

One of the reporters of the Reno News and Review had contacted
North Star to have two students who are particularly strong in English...
to do the two re-writes for publication.

The artists were asked to submit their brief biography and pertinent facts
for the article...and then they were emailed to Alex and to Rafael.

Below is Alex's submission to the paper.

It was just published today.







It had only taken Alex a very short time to write and submit this to his teacher...
who then forwarded it to the newspaper for publication.


While it wasn't much...
it is his first publication.


------------

On another note...
Alex received the results of his latest ACT and SAT exams.


Many top universities superset the ACT and SAT scores.

This is where they take the top scores from all of the most recent scores...
and make a conglomerate score.

On Alex's second to the last ACT...
he had a total score of 35 out of 36 on this one exam alone.

He had a perfect Math and Essay score.

On his last ACT...
he had gotten a perfect score on his Math and Science.

So...
as a conglomerate superset...
Alex now has a perfect ACT score of 36 out of 36.

Alex had also raised his SAT score by 20 points.


While Alex had also gotten a perfect score on his SAT II Math Specific exam...
he must also do well on his upcoming SAT II Physics Specific exam
in order to even be considered by many of the top universities.


Alex will have two years of a foreign language finished before his 
senior year (in Japanese).

He will take his third year of Japanese at UNR in the Fall.


Right now...
Alex is doing another English assignment where he will have to
design his own English test.

This will prove to be a very interesting assignment...
as Alex loves to design tests and competitions  :)


















Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Alex's First Step Completed - National Merit Scholarship Qualifier





Song:  El Condor Pasa

Artists:  Simon & Garfunkel



Yesterday, we had received this letter signifying Alex's making the first cut
for the National Merit Scholarship.

As stated in the letter...
over 1.5 million 3rd year high school students throughout the nation take their PSATs.

They are then ranked by score...
and the top scorers in each state make the first cut.

The passing of this first stage represents the top 3.3%
of the 1.5 million participants in the nation (top 50,000).

The successful passing of the next stage...
to that of being a National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalist...
will be announced sometime this September
(the top 16,000...top 1.1%).

From there...
other criteria will be used in conjunction with their PSAT scores 
to establish their ranking for being a National Merit Scholarship Finalist
(SAT score as well as an Essay...and perhaps others).

From there...
it will only be the top the top 1/2 %
( .5% or one half of one percent)...
who become National Merit Scholarship recipients...
of the 1.5 million national participants.

What was funny is that since Alex studies at home through an online high school...
they sent this letter to us as if we were the Principal of his Homeschool.

And on the following page...
it shows the total number of our students of whom had passed this stage...
ONE  :)





Right now...
most 4th year high school students going on to university...
have received their acceptance and rejection letters.

In one year's time...
Alex will receive his also.

His mother is busy plotting out which universities Alex will be applying to this Autumn...
tiered, and in order of priority. 



Although there are plenty of top universities...
not all are a good match for Alex.

Alex will be applying to the many universities which are renown for their math departments.

While there are many famous universities known for their other departments
(such as Law or Medicine)...
it is the Math Department that matters most to Alex.

I had learned that there are actually many lesser well known universities
which are world ranked for their Math Department
(they had become this way because of the tremendous mathematical talent 
in the Professors they had recruited...strictly by merit).


------------


Alex has a mid-term exam at UNR tomorrow.

He had just finished a very light lunch of crab meat on crackers
 with some cheese on the side.

Presently, Alex is reviewing for his exam at his computer...
still in his pajamas  :)



























Monday, April 10, 2017

Alex's Analysis Of Two Poems



Song:  Guantanamera

Group:  The Sandpipers


Alex had two poems he had to analyze.

With the first poem, he had to follow the outline for his analysis.

In the second poem...
he had to put the poem into his own words...
and he then had to analyze it.

Alex loves to analyze things.






Right now...
Alex is studying for his midterm exams.

Also, in less than two weeks...
Alex will be competing in the ARML locals to secure a spot 
on the math team competing in the Nationals in Las Vegas later this year.

Alex will also be taking a special SAT II Physics exam next month.

He had also just recently finished all of his problems for his upcoming 
Mathematics Talent Exhibition (his own contest).


Alex is busy...
but, he is happy.

Alex is happiest when he is completing his objectives...
and always striving towards his goals.














Saturday, April 1, 2017

Some New Books For Alex


Song:  Time In A Bottle

Artist:  Jim Croce



Alex's mother bought some more books for Alex's leisure reading.

Alex loves books...
especially ones on Mathematics and Philosophy.

However...
Alex also loves the classics, along with other works of great fiction.

Alex's mother frequently orders new books for Alex to enjoy.
These books had just arrived today.









This type of book is especially valuable to all children...
no matter their interests.








----------------------



Books are the key to a child's development of his mind.

They serve as...
more than any other form of media...
time in a bottle...
from which the child may drink in the wisdom of the ages.

A good book conveys knowledge...
teaches morals, values, and ethics...
and gives correct patterns of thinking
(correct only when it is the most efficient means
to the highest sustained rate towards the greatest end).


Good books are a child's most valuable friends.

Through them...
he will meet truly great people after whom he will model himself.

The same process happens with girls.

A male will learn of examples of true love...
of how a selfless and deeply caring female character acts...
and he will fall in love with this character (this is the aim of the good author).
He will then fall in love with the woman of his dreams in real life 
when he sees these same actions and attributes being unfolded before him
in that rare woman whom had also read and loved similar books...
and so...had modeled herself after them...
and then sees her dream man looking at his dream woman.

This is how love at first sight is not only plausible...
but becomes highly probable...
as the later man sees the image of his boyhood mind 
from which he had conjured as he read of his perfect woman.

This is also how a boy grows to be a man.
When he reads of great deeds by great men...
and whose great attributes he models himself after...
and who subsequently acts in synch with the focus of his great admiration.


-----------------------


Now...
what a child drinks in...
will greatly affect the outcome of his life.

Just as not all drinks are good for a child...
not all books are good for a child.

Just as a steady consumption of soda will rot the body from within...
so may the steady consumption of immoral or irrational books do the same.

Just as a steady consumption of crystal clear water 
will lead to a healthy state of being...
so must the books be of the crystal clarity of rational and high moral thought.

And...
just as the sweetness and healthfulness of fruit or vegetable juice 
will lead to, not only great health...
but will add a flavor which fills the soul...
so must the books be of love so great that it transcends that of pure rationality...
and into the realm of pure magic.
















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