LAC LA BICHE - For Joey Clark, mathematics is not only a subject he excels in, but also something he enjoys.
Clark, a Grade 8 student at École Plamondon School, recently achieved perfect back-to-back scores on math assessments through Northern Lights Public Schools. The accomplishment has recognized the quiet, intelligent youth in the school division’s Shining Stars program. The program gives recognition to one NLPS student each month.
Joey says he likes math because it is a skill that can be used almost everywhere people go in life.
“I find math easy in some of the areas such as fractions, algebra and integers,” he told Lakeland This Week, adding that these are his favourite areas of mathematics. “I am not considering a career at the moment in math, but it is a possibility.”
The NLPS assessments are part of the Canadian Achievement Test and are conducted throughout the school year. The assessments are part of the school division’s top priorities to improve numeracy in schools.
School officials are calling the back-to-back results an extraordinary academic achievement.
École Plamondon math teacher Dmitri Evdokimov nominated Joey for the Shining Stars program.
“I’ve never had any student earn 100 percent on any of the division math assessments,” Evdokimov said. “And then this year, Joey has been perfect two months in a row. It is really remarkable.”
Although he scored two consecutive 100 per cent results in the tests — and he admits he finds math to be fairly easy — Joey says the assessments are challenging and require a lot of attention. He took only 15 minutes to complete the assessments but spent another 15 minutes checking over his answers.
“The assessments were hard on some of the questions but the other eight were easy,” he stated.
Sports and family
When he isn’t hitting the books studying, Joey enjoys hockey, volleyball, and lacrosse, sharing sports skills with his siblings.
Joey’s mom Jamie said he has always been quite good at all his subjects in school and would often be on the honour roll, but it was during the COVID-19 pandemic when she really noticed his aptitude for math. Joey and his siblings did the Learn Together at Home program during the COVID disruptions to classroom studies.
“In math, Joey needed to learn about long division, and I was able to show him how I was taught,” Jamie explained. “Once it clicked for Joey, he had it and this surprised me at how quickly he processed it.”
The aptitude for numbers and equations is something Joey’s dad Brent also had a passion for. Brent, the owner of a local plumbing and heating business, passed away earlier this year. Jamie said her son would go to work with his dad and the two would figure out math problems together.
“Brent would do physics for fun, and he was very talented with processing math problems in an instant,” she said. “Joey went to work with his dad often and using math problems during the day was part of the job they did and challenged each other on. Unfortunately, we lost Joey's dad in the spring, but Brent would be so proud of this achievement and would agree that our son deserves this acknowledgement.”
École Plamondon School principal Karen Grygus was pleased to see the young student earn the recognition.
"Joey is a wonderful student and a great person," she said. "We are so proud of him and his dedication."