Ten-year-old William Joshua King has a recipe for success: prayers and diligence in studies.
No wonder, the Grade 6 pupil of Bethany Christian School in Cebu City received a merit award during the 2013 Bulgaria International Mathematics Competition (BIMC) held in the Black Sea City of Burgas from June 30 to July 5.
King and his 11 teammates were declared overall champion of the BIMC, described as the “most difficult” international competition attended by 596 delegates from 29 countries. The teams from Vietnam and Thailand placed second and third.
The Filipinos bagged 16 medals—three gold, four silver and bronze, and five merit medals. They are students from different schools in the Philippines.
Jinger Chong of St. Jude Catholic School, Shaquille Wyan Que of Grace Christian College and Vicente Raphael Chan of Zamboanga Chong Hua High School received gold medals.
Those who got silver medals were Stefan Marcus Ang of St. Jude Catholic School, Steven John Wang of UNO High School, Jose Ignacio Locsin of St. John Institute in Bacolod City and Tiffany Mae Ong of Immaculate Conception Academy. The bronze medalists were Luke Matthew Bernardo of Philadelphia High School, Adam Christopher Chan of Grace Christian College, Ryan Mark Shao of Xavier School and Eason Wong of Philippine Cultural College.
Four others received merit medals. They were Anna Nicola Baizas from Philippine Science High School, Jaymi Mae Ching from Jubilee Christian Academy, Alyana Zoie Chua from MGC New Life Christian Academy and Christopher Jose Carlos from Ateneo de Manila University.
King said he would not have won without the help of God. “I studied hard,” he said, “but no matter how we study hard, if we don’t praise and acknowledge God, all will come to nothing.”
According to his mother, Joy Christine, what happened was part of God’s plan. “Despite our studying hard, we never forget to acknowledge the Lord. Whether you win or lose, that is God’s will. In everything, he has a purpose,” she said.
Joy and her husband, John, run a family-owned corporation. Their youngest daughter, Elizabeth, 4, is a Kindergarten 1 pupil at Bethany.
King has been training with the Mathematics Trainers’ Guild (MTG) Philippines since he was in Grade 1. MTG is a non-profit organization of math teachers committed to develop and promote excellence in math education in the country.
To qualify as a member of the Philippine team for the BIMC, he underwent three workshops. “The only time we didn’t study math was during periodical exams,” he said.
From April to the last week of June before the team left for Bulgaria, MTG conducted another five-week summer training in Manila.
All the hard work was worth it, King said. “It’s very fulfilling winning the award, and I’m very elated to be part of the Philippine Elementary Team. I give thanks, honor and glory to God for this achievement,” he said.
Aside from solving numbers, King said he was inspired to excel because he wanted to “take up medicine and help the sick and needy.” Joining math contests, he said, would help him build a good resumé and, hopefully, get a scholarship.
Although he comes from an affluent family, King said he wanted a scholarship because he didn’t want to burden his parents. “I hope to study in the United States,” he said.
King started competing when he was 6. He bested the Enopi Math Olympiad in Cebu in Grade 2 and won the bronze medal the following year. Enopi is an annual international math contest that began in 2004 and participated in by math wizards from around the world.
Then in Grades 4 and 5, the boy bagged bronze and merit awards during the Singapore International Math Competition in 2011 and 2012. He also topped the February Mathematics Teachers Association of the Philippines tilt this year.
He also had his share of defeat. He lost in the Philippine Science High Math Challenge in Cebu and in the International Math Competition (IMC) held in Singapore last year.
“I get disappointed but that won’t stop me from practicing,” King said.
According to his teacher, Joyce Ong, math has always been the boy’s strength.
Joy said her son had vowed to study harder to improve his performance in the IMC to be held in Korea next year.