“In our schools, we should also campaign for our Math Champions as ‘idols’, just as we idolize fellow learners who are basketball players, singers, and dancers because they deserved to be admired,” former DepEd secretary Leonor Briones stated as a way of recognizing students taking part in a national math competition.
A sixth-grade student was utterly perplexed whether to enroll in a science or national high school for their junior high schooling. To assist him in choosing which school to enroll in, the parent asks the student to select between two math teachers. Rather than choose one of the teachers, the student exclaimed, “I wanted to be like Kuya Kiel!” Kiel, a grade 10 student, won first place in the division math competition in which the grade 6 student participated.
The spotlight has switched to a unique set of heroes in a world where data and technology drive change: student math idols. These young mathematicians are not only exceptional students but also role models for their peers, challenge stereotypes, and agents of social change that elevates scholastic achievement in mathematics.
Music, film, and sports have produced the most popular culture’s idols. However, the growing popularity of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields has allowed academic superstars to become famous students. Math idols are often recognized for their extraordinary mathematical talent, as seen by their research contributions, inventive problem-solving, and contest victories.
These students often compete in national and international math competitions, such the Metrobank-MTAP-DepEd Math Challenge (MMC), Philippine International Mathematical Olympiad (PhIMO), Hongkong International Mathematical Olympiad (HKIMO), International Mathematics Olympiad Competition of Southeast Asia (IMOCSEA), where they show off their abilities to solve challenging problems quickly. As a result of their achievements, they become well-known and appreciated for their dedication, fortitude, and love of mathematics in addition to their intelligence.
Global education systems have been significantly impacted by the emergence of math idols among students. Early mathematical talent development is becoming a bigger priority for educators and schools. There are growing numbers of clubs and programs devoted to math enrichment that give students the chance to pursue interests outside the classroom.
Furthermore, the notion that mathematics is an uninteresting or unduly difficult subject is being demolished by the rise in popularity of math idols. These youthful inspirations show that mathematics can be a creative, stimulating, and immensely fulfilling subject. They prove that curiosity and hard work, rather than just natural aptitude, are the keys to success in mathematics.
The influence of student math idols has significantly grown thanks in large part to social media and technology. Young mathematicians can share their expertise, solve problems, and interact with a worldwide audience via platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. These platforms are used by educational content creators, who are frequently students themselves, to demystify difficult mathematical ideas and offer tutorials, thereby making math approachable and entertaining for a wider audience.
The rise of student math idols, who emphasize the importance of academic accomplishments and serve as an inspiration for a new generation of problem solvers, represents a profound cultural shift. Not only are these young mathematicians shattering preconceptions and tearing down barriers, but they are also encouraging their peers to enjoy mathematics. They open the door to a future where mathematical creativity flourishes and academic success is valued if their tales are told.

Cherrie A. Bantay | Teacher III | Bataan National High School
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