Achieving Greatness Together

William Shakespeare once said that “Some are born great, some achieve greatness,
and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Achieving greatness can be the situation that can best describe the academic journey of twins, Madelyn and Margaret Esther Cruz.

As shared by their Kumon Instructor, Teacher Tess Santos:

“Mads and Marge started their Kumon journey in 2004 at the age of three. Over time and with the support of busy parents (who always made it a point to see that the twins were able to answer their Kumon worksheets daily), they developed a very high level of ability in Math and Reading. In fact, completing the Math and Reading Programs by grade 6 helped them to be accepted into Philippine Science High School (main campus), where they graduated with high honors. Mads and Marge competed in international math competitions and brought home medals and honor for our country. This is why they were the recipients of the DOST Youth Excellence in Science and Math Award for 4 consecutive years from 2016 to 2019. It also wasn’t a surprise then that they both decided to take up Bachelor of Science in Mathematics at the University of the Philippines – Diliman.”

Indeed, it can be said that they have come full circle with their Kumon journey leading to both
of them graduating from a four-year course in just 3 years and summa cum laude. Also, they both decided to pursue further studies – with Mads pursuing her scholarship grant Ph.D. in Michigan, USA and Marge is pursuing her MS at UP Diliman.

How has Kumon helped them reach this milestone? Let’s hear from Mads and Marge as they share how their Kumon experience prepared them for their present and future.

Why did you enroll in Kumon?

Madelyn: I was influenced by my older sister who enrolled in Kumon ahead of me and my twin sister.

Margaret: I remember when we were three years old, we used to accompany our older sister when she
went to Kumon. While we were waiting for our sister, our mother would let us play in the playground; so
we thought that when we would eventually enroll in Kumon, we would play a lot.

Can you recall your first few months? How was it?

Madelyn: I remember how I began learning to write, count, and read numbers which I found interesting.

Margaret: As for me, I remember doing the magnetic number board exercise, which was really fun. I also
enjoyed the days when we sang, danced, and played with other students.

How did you manage your time between Kumon and your other activities?

Margaret: Because I was motivated enough by the people around me, doing my Kumon worksheets was not really a burden. While not always, I mostly enjoyed my time in Kumon, and that was what helped me balance my time. It also helped that we were disciplined by our parents.

Madelyn: For me, having acquired the speed and ability to finish my worksheets in the shortest possible time, I had more quality time for other worthwhile activities.

What were your challenges in your Kumon study? How did you overcome them?

Madelyn: The greatest challenges were when I had to skip Kumon classes due to academic competitions and other school-related activities and had to catch up with finishing my worksheets. With Kumon teachers adjusting to my schedule, I managed to overcome said challenges.

Margaret: On my end, the greatest challenge was time. While most kids were playing during
vacations, we spent entire days in the Kumon Center. It was good that we were able to do that,
but I remember times when I cried on the way to Kumon because I didn’t want to go to Kumon. There
were times when I did not finish my homework, so I was afraid that I would be scolded.

Were you already a self-learner before joining Kumon?

Margaret: Since we started young, our mother was the one who was really hands-on in terms of teaching before Kumon. Through Kumon, I became more disciplined and because it promotes self-learning, I became more accountable.

Madelyn: It’s the same for me. At a young age, I already developed the virtues of discipline, hard work, and time management.

How did Kumon help you in school? In your chosen course/career?

Margaret: Kumon might be one of the reasons why I always want to do things perfectly. Kumon taught
me that it’s alright to make mistakes as long as I try to correct them afterward, and that attitude helped
me reach a lot. It always made me feel that I can do more, and with that mindset, I really got to achieve
more. Of course, Kumon also served as a jumpstart in my math subjects, so I got to focus on other
subjects that I’m weaker at. It also applied to my work outside school, which really helped a lot. I believe
that I was able to form good work ethics, which allowed me to achieve exceptional things.

Madelyn: As for me, Kumon has helped me become independent and confident in my studies. The
program paved the way for me to do well in school not only in Mathematics but also in other subjects.
I became responsible, hardworking, and disciplined. Luckily, this allowed me to choose my preferred
course, Mathematics, where I found fulfillment and happiness.

What/who was your inspiration to complete the program?

Margaret: As a person with a twin, I was quite competitive, so that was one of my motivations to complete the program.

Madelyn: My inspirations were my parents and siblings. Also, my very supportive Kumon teachers,
especially Teacher Tess.

How did your parents support you to complete the program and reach your Kumon goals?

Madelyn: They gave full support to me. They patiently reminded me to strive hard in realizing my

Margaret: I remember how they would bring us to Kumon even if it’s really far from home.

What is the most significant learning from your Kumon journey?

Margaret: As someone who spent most of my childhood in Kumon, it has had a huge influence on how I grew up. I would say that I became disciplined and I was able to learn a lot of things that not many people get to experience in their everyday lives. Aside from the math lessons, it taught me to never give up. Sometimes, we have the chance to be better and fix our mistakes, so we need to take that opportunity. It also taught me that we should do things at our own pace. Life is not a race. While it feels satisfying to excel, we should remain humble, and if we can, we need to help others in their own journeys too.

Madelyn: My most significant learning is the importance of discipline, hard work, and effective
time management. Having been enrolled in Kumon at a very young age taught me to be independent, diligent, and competitive in and beyond school.

What advice can you give to current Kumon students who are experiencing difficulties and who dream of completing the program?

Margaret: Know your motivation when completing the program. I know a lot of people who started Kumon and were not able to complete it but are still successful in life. Life is short and it is really stressful at this time, so I would just advise you to enjoy it. To finish the program, you need to have motivation, but if it’s not enough and if it does not make you happy, it’s okay.

Madelyn: Every Kumon journey entails a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and discipline. But you could overcome whatever difficulties you encounter if you are determined to fulfill your dream of becoming a Kumon Completer.


Kumon is the world's leading after-school enrichment program. We offer two subjects: Math and Reading in more than 300 Kumon Centers nationwide.

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