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  Friday, April 2, 2021

What are the odds? 8th Grader David Deutsch’s Gold Medal in math

By Tom Faure

What are the odds, I asked 8th grader David Deutsch, of scoring a Gold Medal with a perfect score of 120 out of 120 on the Kangaroo Math USA competition? What are the odds of achieving it two years running? Well, it’s a rare achievement, that’s for sure. Last year, he was one of 56 students in the country to receive Gold – and the only one in San Diego County.

56…out of nearly 35,000!

His achievement was deservedly celebrated in Advisory during the morning meeting. Asked how that felt, David is very humble: “It doesn’t mean you’re a legendary mathematician, but it’s something to be proud of.”

David with his Kangaroo Math Contest prize from last year

David also participated in the AMC8 and AMC10 competitions. On the AMC-8 he was in the top 1.8% among over 50,000 participants, and on the AMC10 he finished in the top 13.33% among all participants (9th and 10th grade included).

Stellar stuff. So what’s it like to get ready for a big math competition?

“It’s a lot like stage fright,” David says. “You generally feel stressed before, and then after that you don’t feel anything anymore […] it doesn’t really help to feel nervous because then you lose your concentration.”

David described his passion for math and for the piano, at which he also excels. Which one’s more difficult? “Piano requires more concentration but the objective is clearer. In math, the destination is more unknown, more abstract…”

One day, David hopes to become a researcher in neuroscience, to study and better understand how to combat and treat brain cancer. As it so happens, one area of promising research in the battle against cancer: applied mathematics.

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