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Math Help from Young Jamaicans

As we all know, math is one of the most intimidating subject for most high school students in Jamaica. This is by no means unique to Jamaica, with many countries struggling to find ways to encourage improved performance from its students in this important subject. It was therefore pleasing for those of us at the IFOJ to see the following article on the Jamaica Observer website. The article speaks to the work being done by young Jamaicans, in helping other young Jamaicans to learn and appreciate mathematics. Good job, and good luck to them. See article below, or visit the Jamaica Observer website: (http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/calabar-quartet-taking-maths-to-over-100-from-six-schools_117515?profile=1606)

Calabar quartet taking maths to over 100 from six schools

BY KIMBERLEY HIBBERT Staff reporter hibbertk@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, November 19, 2017 8 Comments

Volunteer math teachers and Calabar old boys (from left) Kemar Gordon, Christopher Lai, Simon Johnson and Shamoy Wallace pause for a photo op in-between class time. (Photos: Garfield Robinson)

For many young men, Saturday mornings are sacred and reserved for recreational activities. It's the time they use to catch up on video games, play football basketball or unwind from the stresses of the week. But for four young men, old boys of Calabar High School, it's the time they have used, over the past four years, to tutor present students in mathematics and impart words of wisdom.

On a visit to the school by the Jamaica Observer yesterday, close to 100 young males and females sat attentively seeking to understand the concepts, formulas and application of the mathematical problems being taught to them.

Others had to be encouraged to boldly work out the problems and believe that mathematics was not a subject insurmountable.

Shamoy Wallace, 25, executor of the classes, shared that while at The University of the West Indies, Dr Jermaine McCalpin, a lecturer at the institution and Calabar old boy, gave him a call saying that he envisioned the programme and thought he was the ideal person to start it.

“At first I said, 'Me, teach maths?' and I gave it some thought and said it would be good and got some guys from my year, like Kemar Gordon and Simon Johnson, to come on board,” Wallace said.

But for Wallace, who holds a first degree in economics (special), his first class was a test to see his level of commitment, as only three students showed.

He shared that he remained committed after seeing how he he was able to get one of the three boys in the class to break out of his shyness and “up his math game”.

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Today, the class caters to over 100 students from six high schools — Calabar, Jamaica College, Camperdown, Merl Grove, Excelsior, and Jose Marti Technical — and is free of cost.

Students are also fed at the end of classes.

Apart from Wallace, Gordon and Johnson, old boy Christopher Lai also volunteers his Saturdays.

“We give notes, introduce card games, incentives for scoring the highest, and give them reasons to stay motivated and pumped. Placing them