SUDBURY, Mass.—Rising mathematician Zaven Kouchakdjian is celebrating an impressive accomplishment in his young academic career. The 13 year-old just achieved a perfect score of 120 on the 23rd annual international math contest known as Math Kangaroo.
“I like numbers and everything that’s related to them,” said the Curtis Middle School student during an interview with the Weekly.
Back in May, Kouchakdjian was one of almost 25-hundred students in the US who participated in the 75-minute ‘Level 7’ exam, which included algebra, geometry and word problems. This year, a total of 35,171 students enrolled in the contest nationwide. Kouchakdjian has previously scored in the top 20 (nationally) on four separate occasions.
He tells the Weekly that his enrollment in the Russian School of Mathematics (RSM)—a highly-regarded and rigorous after-school program—has helped foster his love for the subject. “I can just learn a lot really quickly,” said Kouchakdjian, who is entering his tenth year at RSM where he will be studying pre-calculus in addition to his regular schoolwork at Curtis. To prepare for pre-calculus as well as number theory at Curtis, the incoming eighth grader has been studying trigonometry on the side, an area of math that he admits is proving to be a little more challenging to grasp.
Kouchakdjian is also involved in his local Armenian community. He serves as the corresponding secretary for the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Middlesex County “Mousa Ler” (Junior) Chapter and attends both Saturday School and Sunday School at St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church in Watertown, Mass. He plays the viola and enjoys spending time with his younger siblings.