The school year is winding down and some of the annual rituals and ceremonies are taking place. Ray was recognized with a fine certificate for his achievements in math. He placed second in the fourth grade in his school and was suitably proud. His friend, Jamie, got a medal for being first in fourth grade and another medal for beating all of the fifth graders as well.
The school district makes a fuss about math, which is cool. The kids like the awards and the cookies and the attention. It doesn't cost much in time or money and one hopes that the little nerds are encouraged. There was also a demonstration by the middle school competitive math team which was engaging for all of us. Who doesn't want to beat a 12 year old to the right answer?
Katherine, eight years older, went to the prom. Her achievements in math this year are certificate worthy, but what she wants is that other piece of paper - the diploma. In three more weeks, she will be walking across the stage with a tasseled square hat on her head.