Philly 6th-grader tops ranks in online math program

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "Math just comes naturally," said 12-year-old Anthony Wang. "Fractions, algebra, decimals, percents, it helps me build skills."

The 6th-grade student at St. Matthew School is proving that practice makes perfect.

"Most of the time I always get it right," he said. "And I also help other students."

St. Matthew is a subscriber of the First in Math online practice program, founded in 2002 to give kids colorfully memorable activities to complete in and outside the classroom. Within the application, students earn stickers and are ranked for their scores.

Across all grade levels, Wang is currently ranked #1 in Pennsylvania with a total of 68,967 stickers. Additionally, he is ranked #3 in the nation out of nearly one million players.

Certain tiers of activities were recently unlocked for Wang, who has been outperforming his grade level. This may allow him to catch up to the nation's top two players.

"I'm trying to get number one in the whole nation," he said. "So, I'm feeling excited and hopeful for the future."

Wang speaks Mandarin at home and English in the classroom. But there is still enough room in his brain to master mathematics with ease.

"I remember when he was 5 years old, he practiced by himself," said his mother, Ailing Ke. "He's such a good kid."

The principal of St. Matthew School, Sister John Magdalen, also spoke highly of the student.

"All the kids in school are doing this and we announce every Monday the top five players and Anthony's always at the top," she said. "He's not looking for attention or for any notoriety or anything. It's his personal challenge to be the best with this."

Wang thinks he might put his mathematics skills to the test in the future as a doctor. For now, he's content spending several hours a day perfecting his skills and stacking his sticker collection on First in Math.

To learn more about St. Matthew School or First in Math, visit their website.

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