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HomeLifestyle and cultureA Whiz Called Thirdy

A Whiz Called Thirdy

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How many students have been driven to tears when faced with a mathematical equation? Maths has been notorious for invoking fear especially for the non-mathematically inclined.

Finding x, squaring y, and finding the square root of a prime number has been the cause of despair for most. Who does not have a favourite math story? Whether it’s a “Try Harder” note from your teacher, or a big X mark on your 15-item quiz, Maths has been known to reduce a person to a blabbering, blubbering pile of mush.

And then there’s Emmanuel “Thirdy” Salgado, Bacolod’s Archimedes in the making, who juggles numbers with such ease, one wonders what really goes on in that brain of his.

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Mathletes and math nerds have often been unfairly and stereotypically depicted in pop culture as basement-dwelling geeks with barely half a life, with tortoise-shell glasses, unkempt hair, and a primal obsessive look on their faces when asked to recite the first 75 digits of pi.


Not Thirdy. Round-faced, with an almost impish smile, he looks more like the typical kid who is into gadgets, games, and Netflix.

Except that he really is a typical kid who is into gadgets, games, and Netflix. His facility for maths just make him different. Exceptionally different.

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Thirdy is all set to join the national finals for 2020 Asian Science and Math Olympiad come 28 November 2020, after placing silver in the 2020 Asian Science and Math Olympiad Preliminary Round.

Last August, he placed third in Mathematics Without Borders, an international tourney usually held in Bulgaria (but was held online because of the pandemic), part of the Philippine delegation trained by the Asian MathSci League Incorporated-Bacolod.

Being an achiever is nothing new for Thirdy, though.

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“Yes he has always been an achiever,” Thirdy’s mother Jeinz tells DNX. Jeinz is a former professor of the Sociology Department of the University of St. La Salle – Bacolod, of which Thirdy is also a Grade 4 student.

Jeinz shares that Thirdy’s track of excellence started during his nursery and kindergarten years in L’Ecole.

“He always got the highest star at the final term,” Jeinz shares, adding, “During his preparatory level up to now, he belongs to the Top 10 of the batch.”

Interesting fact: Thirdy is little brother to three over-achieving siblings. So it was no surprise that the culture of excellence has seeped through his system.

He has, Jeinz reveals, been observing his elder siblings, two of which are now about the conquer – or are conquering – the professional world.

“That’s why he knows how to prioritize things in life. I also reinforce his being diligence by reminding him from time to time his daily goals,” Jeinz says.

Of course there is a time for everything.

Thus, Thirdy is also conscientious enough NOT to have the all-work-no-play routine. Work-life balance. That is key.

“Thirdy is a responsible students in terms of making his assignments: Attending his enrichment class in math and science online [but] he sees to it that in a week he practices me time. So he was physical activities, he plays with his gadgets, reads books, plays the piano, watches his favorite shows in Netflix, and plays chess with his father,” Jeinz share.

Thirdy’s ambition? To pursue a career on electrical engineering, just like Dad.

Not surprising given his facility for numbers. But until then, Thirdy is far from resting on his laurels. He is slowly but surely conquering the world one tourney at a time.

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Hannah A. Papasin
Hannah A. Papasinhttp://facebook.com/hannah.mariveles
Writer. Critic. Professor. She started writing since primary school and now has two published textbooks on communication. A film buff, she's a Communication, Media Literacy and Journalism Professor of the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod, and has a Master's Degree in English.
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