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Challenges help student head toward a bright future after a decade with JEI
Meet Sahana Noru, a student of JEI’s Math program since 2008 when she was only a kindergartener! Now in high school, she is graduating out of the program, but she leaves with a bright future ahead thanks to all that she has learned over the last 11 years. Sahana and her parents recently answered a few questions for JEI Learning Center as we say farewell to her as a student but look forward to her continuing growth and contributions. Reminiscing on when Sahana first began, Mr. and Mrs. Noru revealed that they had visited a number of Math programs before deciding on JEI and enrolling Sahana in the South San Jose location. They said they were ultimately won over by the personal teacher-to-student environment, the series of workbooks, and the inviting and genuine interest of Director Ms. Hanh. Sahana said, “Thanks to Ms. Hanh for having supported my JEI journey. She was always there to help, guide, and coach.” Sahana admitted that there had been many challenges throughout her journey with JEI. She told us, “Towards the end of JEI Math, the math became tougher, and I had to put a lot more time and effort to focus. As I progressed, I also got into a rhythm of completing things on time with fewer and fewer mistakes,” a key aspect of the JEI Self-Learning MethodⓇ. She was also involved in dancing, speech, and debate at the time, saying, “Balancing all of these activities was a tough task, but I was motivated to complete the math program at JEI.” And it all paid off! It was these very challenges that made the overall experience worth it. When asked what specifically was the most rewarding part of attending JEI, Sahana said, “Learning and mastering new concepts in math. The feeling of accomplishment after having completed the course.” Her parents added, “She has become a well-rounded student and has developed strong fundamental knowledge in math concepts. She is doing well in school and entered into the advanced track in math.” Unfortunately, the program does not extend throughout high school, but if it did, Sahana said, “I would continue JEI Math because I think it helped me get ahead of what we were doing in school and also helped me understand concepts better.” We would love to keep helping her, but luckily, it seems we have set her on the right path with our unique Self-Learning MethodⓇ! She is keen on always improving and has a bright future ahead of her. Mr. and Mrs. Noru told JEI, “Currently, her interests are in pursuing a degree in Computer Science and Business. She feels her strength is in math and she wants to build on it during undergrad.” After strengthening and growing in math, Sahana is now ready to get through high school and take college by storm! We love that she has envisioned a bright future through our program and are excited to see all the things she will accomplish. Thank you, Sahana, for being the paradigm of a Self-Learning student and good luck in the years to come! If interested in JEI for your own child’s growth and future, find a center near you and browse all the programs we have to offer!
Past Math Olympiad and Essay Contest winner, Alicia Shin, shares advice to future participants
Alicia Shin was in the math and English programs at JEI Learning Center for two years when she won first place in the 8th-grade division for Math Olympiad 2019 West Coast and second place in Division D for the Essay Contest 2018. Due to her success, JEI Learning Center reached out to her to get more information about her process and what advice she has for future contestants. Alicia admitted feeling reluctant at first for both competitions: “I was kind of nervous. I didn’t really want to do them because it kind of feels bad when you don’t get the results you want. For the Math Olympiad, I was pretty confident, but not for the Essay Contest because math is my favorite subject, but English is not.” The strategy she used for Math Olympiad was skipping the questions she already knew so she could tackle the ones she did not know first. In the end, she ran out of time and could not go back to the easier ones, but this proved to work for her as she won first place! The Essay Contest was harder for her, but she still did well and learned a lot. She said, “Now I kind of see how [brainstorming] affects the essay. I came to a stop in my topic because I had not brainstormed enough, so I think I can work on that next time.” She also realized the importance of proofreading, which includes playing around with paragraphs and sentences to see how they fit together, pinpointing odd phrases, and improving the overall flow. It was a rough process for her as she said she wanted to give up after writing for about ten days. Alicia explained how she had a hard time focusing and what she learned about time management: I learned the basic fact that successful results don’t come from cramming. I didn’t have time to look for the information because of my schoolwork and then I kind of ended up in a slump, which gave me a hard time concentrating. I learned that I should finish schoolwork before it’s too late, and that I should work on what I have when I have time. So one day if I have enough time to work on it, I shouldn't say I can do it next time or when there’s time later; rather, I should do it that day when I do have time to work on something that I need to do. Throughout this challenging process, Alicia felt particularly grateful for her teacher, Renee, at the JEI Learning Center in San Diego. Alicia explained how Renee helped her become a more confident writer: I trusted my teacher in JEI. Renee really helped me out. Whenever I had a hard time organizing my thoughts, she talked with me and told me how to form parts in my essay . . . Renee really helped me with my grammar and writing. When I struggled with grammar because I couldn’t understand concepts, she explained them to me. Also with writing, she really helped me organize my thoughts and writing in general. If the sentence didn’t really fit, she told me and really wanted me to attempt to fix the sentence. Her mother also noted changes in Alicia throughout her experience with JEI, saying that in the beginning, Alicia would talk about the difficulties she would have in English class. However, after enrolling in the JEI English program, her daughter grew confident, got good results, and started to believe in herself. Mrs. Shin said she was very grateful for JEI. She had once considered pulling Alicia out of JEI after some time there, but Alicia had told her she would like to continue because she loved the teachers: “Renee is her favorite teacher, who helped her a lot, gave her confidence, and motivated her.” After the Essay Contest, Alicia discovered a newfound determination to do better in her weaker subject. She said that in high school, she plans to follow up with what she is learning in English class instead of falling behind like she used to. “I would like to read more books and improve my vocabulary,” she added. When asked to explain what determination means to her and give advice to future contestants who are too scared to put themselves out there, the two-time winner said: I am actually one of those people. I would tell them to just do it because once you try multiple times, you get confident, and I noticed that in attempting competitions, I improved on a vast scale. On the other hand, if I hadn’t tried, I wouldn’t have been able to be informed on what I could work on, and I’d stay at the same level without making any improvements on where I’m weak. I’m proud of myself for winning the contests before I really don’t have a chance anymore. Alicia advises other students to stay determined, defining it as never giving up, even if the task given is boring and tedious. For success, she concludes, “I think it’s when you work on something with your best. Doing your best is success, and then getting a result that may satisfy you even if it’s not the best result ever.” With that, see success for your child in this year’s Essay Contest, which will center on the importance of books. Share Alicia’s experience with your child, register for the Essay Contest in the month of October, and witness your child grow confident and determined!
Have fun cooking with your kids at home
When you’re at home with your kids, a fun way to spend time with them is to invite them to lend a hand in the kitchen. Kids love to be around their parents and help out--particularly when food is involved. It is also a wonderful idea to bring something new to the table (literally and figuratively), especially now when kids have been home for days and growing more restless by the minute. Cooking is not only a fun new activity to introduce to your children but also a great opportunity to pass on family recipes, talk about nutrition, and nurture gratitude for food. Kids can also learn that by putting in the effort, they can get a (delicious) reward! That’s the icing on the cake. One piece of advice for cooking with kids is to delegate tasks based on their ages and experiences. For example, younger children could gather and stir ingredients in a bowl, which helps them learn new words. Older children could crack eggs and test out their math skills by measuring ingredients and converting units. Late teens could use the stove and cutting board, and, of course, everyone can help with the taste testing! Now, roll up your sleeves, tie on the aprons, and get to cooking! Fast Food At Home Your kids may miss going through the McDonald’s drive-through or carrying out a steaming box of freshly made pizza, but don’t fret! You can always deliver healthier alternatives through these recipes. Build-Your-Own Pizza Ground Beef Tacos Chinese Pork Fried Rice Turkey Sloppy Joes Deli in Your Kitchen Salads are both easy and delicious meals to quickly whip up! You can follow the recipes below or get creative with the ingredients. You can even turn some of the salads below into sandwiches or sides for other meals! Egg Salad Tuna Salad Pesto Pasta Potato Salad MasterChef Junior-Level With these recipes, your kids can try their hand at meals that are a little more advanced! After tackling these yummy dishes, you can then surprise your junior master chefs with a certificate because they deserve it. Kid-Pleasin’ Lasagna Baked Potato Soup Chicken Zucchini Casserole Tortilla Bake Desserts Galore These fun and easy recipes can make great after-dinner treats or yummy snacks between meals. Feel free to get creative with the decorating, too! If you have icing or sprinkles, why not? Cooking is all about experimentation. Banana Bread Chocolate Brownies Oatmeal Cookies Cornbread Muffins Now that you have a list of recipes to try out with your kids, you can have fun for days and raise little chefs! This is an amazing way for you to spend quality time with your loved ones and create memories you can look back on fondly. Take plenty of pictures and frame them for the kitchen! For some extra fun, you can turn this into a 30-day cooking challenge, look up more recipes, or create your own based on what’s in your pantry. Maybe you can focus on breakfast one week with fun omelets and waffles! Maybe your kid particularly likes Asian cuisine and wants to experiment with turning instant ramen into a gourmet noodle dish! There is so much room for fun and learning here, so enjoy and happy cooking with your kids! Share pictures of what you make by tagging us on Twitter and Instagram and using hashtag #JEIChefKids.