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Meet Burke Elementary School’s Math Wizard of the Month

07 December 2023

Kaleb says that while his algebra class has been challenging, it's also a lot of fun once you get it down. 

Burke Student

Mr. Angelbert Mariano has many positive adjectives to describe eighth-grade student Kaleb, whom he’s gotten to know as his algebra and homeroom teacher. Dedicated. Consistent. Respectful. Mature. An awesome kid. 

But even Kaleb himself admits that he didn’t always embody those qualities as a student at Burke Elementary School, where he’s attended since he was in pre-k. When given a choice of where he wanted his picture taken anywhere inside Burke, he chose to stand outside his pre-k classroom to symbolize how much he’s grown. 

“As a student here, I realized that I just need to be myself and get my work done,” he said. “I’ve been studying outside of school, staying focused, and cutting out the distractions that were holding me back.” 

You could make the case that Kaleb’s eighth-grade year has been his most successful year of elementary school. He notes that he’s gotten all As for the first time ever and was recently named Math Wizard of the Month for being at the top of his class in that subject. 

Math is actually Kaleb’s favorite subject because he loves to solve equations. He admits that taking algebra as an eighth-grader has been challenging, but he says that once you get it down it can be a lot of fun. He hopes to pass the algebra exit exam later this year so he can take more advanced math classes in high school. 

Kaleb also excels beyond his academics. He’s the team captain of his basketball team at Burke and is strong in all areas of the game, from shooting to driving to playing defense. 

His favorite players are from many different eras—Dennis Rodman from the 1980s and 90s, Kobe Bryant from the 2000s and 10s, and, of course, Stephen Curry from the present day. You could say that he draws from each of their games to make himself a more well-rounded player. 

Art pieces at Burke Elementary School

He’s interested in adding another sport to his list of extracurricular activities when he begins high school, soccer, which he’s played in the past and wants to get back into. He also wants to get more involved with activities that are rooted in community service. 

In terms of choosing where to go to high school, his number one factor is diversity; he believes that attending a diverse school will help him grow both inside and outside of the classroom. 

“I don’t even know how I’m feeling right now,” he said. “Part of me feels sad because this is my last year at Burke, but I’m also feeling happy because I want to experience high school and see how it is.” 

Even though he’s grown so much already at Burke, he believes he still has room to grow even further. Social science is a subject in particular that he thinks he can devote more time to. His efforts will come in handy when it comes time to take his required exam about the U.S. Constitution. 

And, if he achieves his goal of being named Burke’s valedictorian in the spring, you can expect him to give a speech about what attending the school for a decade has meant to him. 

“I would make sure to let everyone know that this journey here has been the best moment of my life,” he said. “The time that I have spent at Burke has really made me the young man that I am today.” 

Kaleb plans to use all his experiences at Burke not only to succeed in high school but also to work toward a career that he is passionate about. Right now, he sees that as a career that centers on technology and coding, which he doesn’t have a ton of experience with but hopes to learn more about. 

He knows that he will have to continue working hard and getting good grades—and maybe pursue some computer science classes in high school—to achieve this goal. Ultimately, though, he believes that the support of those around him is the true key to his success. 

“Some students don’t get a lot of love that helps them reach their aspirations,” he said. “In my case, the love and support that I’ve received affected my life in so many positive ways.” 

Photo of Burke Elementary School

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