Praneel Samal, a 10-year-old from Stevenson Ranch, was one of four Kumon students from Southern California selected to participate in a student forum held at UCLA Saturday.
Hosted by the San Fernando Valley Branch office of Kumon North America, the panel featured Kumon Program completers ranging from elementary school to high school and aimed to inspire local youth to reach their full potential.
Kumon is an after school program for reading and math enrichment that allows students to learn independently and at their own pace.
“We do these panels throughout the country, so we have 1,500 centers and we do them by region,” said Leah Coyle, public relations specialist for Kumon North America, Inc. “We’ve created these to try to inspire students and to stress the importance of advanced study. All of these panelists were program completers in different stages of their childhood.”
During the panel discussion, attendees heard about each student’s academic journey, participated in ice breaker exercises and joined in question-and-answer discussions.
“This unique learning opportunity allowed our panelists to provide a fun and engaging space for students and their parents to learn how current academic efforts connect to future goals,” said Yumi Hoshino, San Fernando Valley Branch Manager for Kumon North America. “If even one student left feeling connected to a larger network and inspired to achieve their dreams, we’ve achieved our goal.”
Praneel was chosen for the panel because he is a dual-program completer of the Kumon Curriculum. In fact, Samal was able to finish the Kumon math and reading program in record time at the age of 9.
“Praneel was chosen as a panelist because he is a program completer and he was unique because he completed it by the age of 9, which means he was reading Shakespeare and doing calculus,” Coyle said.
This work allowed Samal to skip third grade, place second in his school science fair and tie for first in his school’s Math Olympiad.
Outside of his Kumon homework, Samal also practices karate, plays tennis and basketball, participates in Boy Scouts of America, collects and classifies rocks and practices the clarinet.
When he grows up, Samal wants to be a famous mathematician hoping to solve some of the Millennium Prize Problems like the Riemman Hypothesis.
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_