Forming Grit, Aspiring Greater

The following story is from Steven Patrick Yu’s speech during the Advanced Students’ Forum last September 2018 at Radisson Blu Hotel, Cebu City.

My Kumon journey started when I was three years old. I still remember when I first stepped inside the Center – I cried because I didn’t know where I was and what was going to happen. As I grew older, I have come to realize what a great community Kumon is. It is an avenue where individuals learn from each other, and being part of this community really helped me in life.

Throughout my Kumon journey, I have faced countless challenges – from having no time to complete my homework to studying lessons for almost 10 years above my grade level. I have never been pushed so much to the point where I felt very overwhelmed. I only overcame it through the constant encouragement and support from my family and my teachers. We all have one goal and that is, Program Completion. Their love did not just motivate or inspire me; it is the very reason that I completed the program despite the many challenges that came with it.

Milestones That Count

Personally, I view each challenge not as an obstacle, but as a milestone. After you overcome a challenge, you learn from it; and learnings are what drive us to success.

Since I started Kumon at an early age, the effects were eminent in school. I was able to excel in almost all subjects and I won lots of quiz bowls in school. I also had a constant average of 99% in my grades.

Kumon is a habit-forming discipline. This discipline is what has developed me and helped me become the person I am today. Aside from schooling, Kumon molded me in other aspects of my life. I became confident and persistent, which are the basic things I learned from being a Kumon student.

I cultivated time management from Kumon which I have applied in budgeting and controlling the amount of time I spend answering my worksheets, and achievement tests within the time limit. Being able to manage time well is an essential skill, and Kumon helped me to develop it in me. I cultivated time management from Kumon in budgeting and controlling the amount of time I spend answering my worksheets, as well as the achievement tests within the time limit. Being able to manage time well is an essential skill, and Kumon helped develop it in me.

Self-Learning as the Key to Independence

The main feature of the Kumon Method is self-learning. Effectively, I was able to be more independent since I started Kumon. From being able to study lessons without relying on the teacher, to being responsible enough to finish all the tasks I was given. Every time I advanced a level in Kumon, I was always very happy because it brought me a step closer to achieving my dream of becoming a Completer – which I already am now.

Now that I have finished the program, my aspirations are to further excel in school and to enter a prestigious university outside the Philippines.

To all aspiring Completers, this is my piece of advice: Have grit.

Grit is a complex word. The American academic and psychologist, Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth said, “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day-in, day-out. Not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years. And working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

In other words, never give up. I know all the hardships you’re going through. I know all the challenges you’re facing. I know how you feel because I’ve been there. I completed the Reading Program at the age of 8, and the Math Program at the age of 11.

Succeeding and Pushing Through

If there’s one thing I can tell you it is that you’re going to overcome all challenges. You’re going to push through. You’re going to succeed. You just have to work hard, never give up, and believe in yourself. You might want to quit, but if you go through all that and have grit, the fruits of your labor will be so sweet and bountiful.

To my fellow Completers, I hope we will serve as an inspiration to all Kumon students to continue, to apply the Kumon discipline to other aspects of our lives and be a shining example to the Kumon community.

I would like to end my speech with another quote, this time from one of the greatest leaders of the 20th Century, Sir Winston Churchill: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Steven Patrick Yu
Banilad (Cebu) Center

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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