Many students have been recognized for academic, athletic or community service achievements at some point in their grade-school careers, but only four are chosen each year to represent their school as ambassadors in the World Education Games.
Seventh-grader Luke Walsh, 12, represented Miami Arts Charter School in the competition after being nominated by his math teacher, Philip Schwartzman.
“Instructors were asked to nominate students for the opportunity,” said Schwartzman, 24. “I researched more about the program and nominated four students, including Luke.”
The World Education Games is a three-day global competition that challenges students, ages 5-18, from about 200 countries in math, literacy and science with the online programs Mathletics, Spellodrome and IntoScience. Luke was chosen as an ambassador and traveled with Schwartzman and his father, Peter Walsh, on an all-expense paid trip to New York City.
“When they told me I had a trip to New York City, it made me feel unique,” Luke said. “It was my first time seeing the lights and meeting so many people and diverse personalities.”
Ambassadors visited the Rockefeller Center Landmark and Observation Deck, and Central Park while staying at the New York Marriott Marquis. Students also met Scott Flansburg, the Human Calculator, who was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records in 2001 for adding the same number to itself more times in 15 seconds than a person using a calculator.
“Luke is extremely excited about math and this was the perfect opportunity for him,” Schwartzman said.
“His parents were totally floored.”
During the competition, ambassadors are allowed to compete in as many subjects as they choose and Luke decided to compete in all three.
“The most difficult questions were from science,” Luke said. “Math was easy — it’s my favorite subject.”
Outside of Luke’s academic lifestyle, he plays full-back and defensive end for the Miami Shores Spartans, an Xtreme League Football team.
“I like football and my games are always on Saturdays,” Luke said. “Football is good because it teaches discipline.”
He attends practice every day after school from 6 to 8 p.m., and rests on Sundays.
Students 5-18 and schools interested in participating in the World Education Games can sign up at www.worldeducationgames.com.