Both boys are students in the gifted program, SPARK, at Ignite Learning Academy and are also a part of the school’s Math Olympiad team. While these students see each other in class (virtually!) every day, they met face-to-face for the first time in Chicago on competition day.
Cameron Morgan recalled his experience and stated, “My MathCon experience was nerve-racking, exciting, suspenseful, and joyful. I took the test in a big room stuffed with at least a hundred kids inside! The test itself was relatively easy, but I was very nervous about if I was going to finish in the 100-minute time limit.” Cameron went on to be awarded the bronze medal, having scored high enough to win third place in the fourth-grade division. While Cameron is only 8 years old, he is completing Honors Algebra 1 this spring.
Walt Wehrman also performed exceptionally as he demonstrated his immense mathematics knowledge, ultimately receiving honorable mention for his high score in the fourth-grade division. He said, "MathCon made me feel so proud of myself. I enjoyed basically all of it; traveling, testing, Game 24, and the award ceremony! The highlight of MathCon was the award ceremony; I won an honorable mention (4th-10th place)!"
Both students work under the mentorship of Mrs. Geok Ann Julien, one of ILA’s distinguished certified teachers. Not only does she teach high level math, she coaches the school’s Math Olympiad team and will also be teaching Project-Based Learning math classes to our gifted program students in the upcoming school year. She worked alongside MathCon participants to help prepare them to compete. When asked to recollect on the journey of these two students, she described being inspired by each of them and in awe of their passion for math. She described both boys as being self-motivated and not afraid of a challenge!
Ellen Wehrman, parent of Walt, stated, “We are so proud of Walt and Cameron! Our family certainly would not have had this experience without Mrs. Julien and Ignite Learning Academy: as an 8-year old, the ability to take skill-level classes instead of simply age-level classes has been so critical for Walt's development and overall well-being. We are very grateful for the individual attention, preparation, and support Walt received that made MathCon such an affirming experience for our math-loving kid.”
At Ignite learning Academy, faculty believe every student deserves to learn something new every day, and to feel successful. This means, students are encouraged to work at the academic level appropriate for them – even if it’s several years ahead of the typical class taken by children of the same age. The school’s gifted program, SPARK, places a heavy emphasis on Project Based Learning, passion projects, and finding intellectual peers with whom they can build friendships and discuss topics of great interest. To learn more about SPARK, please visit our SPARK page. The school has also introduced a new program, SPARK², launching in August 2022, to bring the SPARK program to students who attend a traditional school during the day, but require additional gifted enrichment.
Founder and Head of School, Dr. Kelly Van Sande, states, “I founded this school to create an alternative program to students who need something more than their previous school was able to provide. In many cases, we see a demonstrated need for extreme differentiation, and our online model, including small class sizes and exciting live instruction, make this possible for students. We look forward to celebrating the success of our students as they excel academically, serve their local communities, and eventually head to university!”.