The journey of studying math has been a life changer for me. As a new graduate from King’s High School, I am proud to announce my future college major, which focuses on International Studies and Applied Mathematics. However, I have to say that this wouldn’t be possible without my teachers in every math class in my 3 years at King’s.

I was not a born-math-girl. I still remember when I left China for my first year abroad: My math teacher called me to specifically say, “You can excel in anything else but math; choose carefully for your future.” Growing up, I was never a good student in math classes. The different figures and equations slipped in my head from one side then slipped out from the other right away. Solving x, logarithm, and trigonometry was nightmares for me. I felt a sense of fear during tests and could never finish a math test on time, so even my parents ran out of words of encouragement to make me try again in mathematics. With this terrible experience in math, I was worried about my high school experience in the US, since I wasn’t even good at the subject that Asians are well known for. However, my teachers at King’s made a miracle.

I started my first math class at King’s with my algebra teacher Mrs. Hansen. Her patience in explaining the concepts in each lesson, as well as her step-by-step guidance through each problem was extremely helpful for me. Her positive attitude was always encouraging. I knew that she believed I could do better. I started to try hard on every homework assignment and the smiling faces she put on my paper when I got a good grade was the best reward for my effort. I realized that my teacher cared for me, not only my grade in her class, but also my studying habit, personal interest and stories of my life. Her support beyond mathematics inspired me to have confidence not only in school work but also in personal relationships. This changed my attitude in math studying. I knew that I can, and I knew that my teacher cares, so I started to challenge myself with higher level math classes.

Ms. Halvorsen was a totally different teacher. Pre-calculus, UW Pre-Calc and AP Calculus with her changed my mind for choosing the direction of my college major and maybe even my career in the future. She constantly reminded us to be wise, to pay attention to details and to keep trying. Whenever a student had a problem that he or she couldn’t solve, Ms. Halvorsen would try several different methods to solve it, so the student could find the easiest way for him or her to understand the material. She encouraged us to finish homework, tests and even notes in a professional way so our transition into college math classes would be much easier. Her dedication in teaching truly made a difference. Early in the morning or late in the evening, she was always in her room whenever we needed her. Beyond everything, her prayer before each class was the best way to begin my day. With Ms. Halvorsen’s guidance and support, I was able to finish my AP Calculus Exam with a 5, which is a score I wouldn’t even have dreamt about three years ago.

They believed I can, they supported me through, so I did. My math journey at King’s wasn’t an easy one, but my teachers made it happen. Mathematics is a hard subject and I still have a lot to achieve, but I believe my experience with my wonderful math teachers has prepared me well for any challenge ahead of me.

Written by King’s Graduate Gabriella Yu, class of 2016