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A Passion for Mathematics

It’s safe to say that Joseph He ’25 likes math
The Grade 8 student and mathematician has been competing against students from across Canada and around the world in mathematics contests. Not only has he been scoring high, but he has often been competing against students that are much older than him. 

“I like that math is quite challenging and the feeling that you can solve the problem after each try is really good,” Joseph said. “I really like geometric problems, for solving shapes, circles or 3D shapes. It’s quite interesting.” 

Recently, Joseph placed seventh overall in the Canadian National Math League contest, where he scored 33 out of 35. 

“It’s exciting, but I'm still not satisfied with what I got, because it wasn’t that hard,” he said. “I was expecting to get a full score. The time required is tight during the test because there are a lot of questions. Thirty-five questions within 30 minutes.” 

Earlier this year, he had the top score among GNS students in the University of Waterloo’s Cayley Mathematics Contest for Grade 10 students. Last year, Joseph also had the top score among GNS students in the Grade 9 Pascal Contest. Because of that, he wanted to challenge himself even more. Next year, Joseph will look to write the Grade 11 equivalent, the Fermat Contest. 

“It’s exciting to win because that contest is hard and to challenge myself and get a good grade on the contest is really exciting,” he said. “What makes it hard is the timing. You don’t have as many questions at the Math League Contest, but every question is hard and they have different levels. So, you need to manage your time, especially for the last question. You never know if it’s going to be five minutes or 50 minutes so that last question is really challenging.” 

This year, Joseph also participated in the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). Students who participate in the exam are ones that received a strong grade in the AMC 10 contests. 

When he joined GNS last year Joseph had Mr. Randy Ollech as his math teacher. Mr. Ollech said he has seen the ways Joseph grew throughout the year and witnessed first-hand the passion he has for math. 

“When teaching him in math class, I always appreciated his patience and kindness as he would regularly sit back and let other students try to answer difficult questions even though he would already know the answer,” said Mr. Ollech. “Besides being passionate about mathematics he has developed a passion for sports. As hard as he works at learning, whether it be mathematics, English or science, Joseph puts the same effort into learning the rules and skills to play basketball or football with his friends. He is a wonderful student and a great representative of this school and his family.”

While he might only be in Grade 8 now, Joseph is looking to use his math skills in his future career, as he said that, as of now, he wants to work in computer science. 


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