FLETCHERS LAKE: Maria Mihai’s nickname as “The Calculator” seems fitting for someone who’d rather sit and answer math questions than play Fortnite or other video games, like her peers.
Mihai, who attends Holland Road Elementary School, recently had her name listed as an Honourable Mention in a University of Waterloo math exam. She’s in Grade 6. The exam was for those in Grade 11.
She was honoured to have made the list.
“I worked really hard at it,” she said. “I was hoping all that studying and work would pay off, and it did.
“It makes me really happy.”
Mihai, who lives with her family in Fletchers Lake, said it just shows that practice makes perfect.
“It keeps proving to me that when you work hard, it pays off,” said Mihai.
She said there has been a lot of sacrifices she has had to make to focus on her math. That includes not getting to hang out with friends.
“I don’t get to hang out with my friends a lot because I need to practice to ensure I’m good at this,” said Mihai.
Mihai’s friends have nicknamed her because of her math wizardy.
“A lot of them call me a math genius, and when people think of me they think of math nerd,” she said. “It’s funny, whenever they’re having trouble with math they ask me for help. It feels good to help people out.”
She shook her head in agreement when asked if she sees herself as math genius or nerd.
Math is something that is her niche.
“There’s some things that just come naturally to me, like they just work,” said Mihai. “I can’t explain it, but the pieces just fit together.”
She credits the Holland Road School teachers Mrs. Wisen who helped setup the Math Club at the Fletchers Lake school; her Grade 2/3 teacher; and Mrs. Larade, the school principal; her mom, her dad, and her sister Ana for their support.
Mihai also won a $200 cheque for first in the province in the contest.
What’s next for Mihai?
“I’m working on my Grade 10 math credit, and all I need to do a financial project and an exam,” she said.
In the future, what does she see herself doing?
“I want to be a statistician, people who research and work with data,” said Mihai. “Numbers are the best part of math. They’re my favourite part.”