WHITEFISH BAY, Wis. — As the school year gets underway, some students have been preparing all summer for the new learning year.
Mathnasium is a math learning center in Whitefish Bay, Wis., that helps kids both during the summer months and throughout the school year.
Quinn Muderlak is about to start his senior year at Whitefish Bay High School. Currently, he’s a tutor at Mathnasium. Back when he was in grade school, he was a student there.
“So, when I was a student here, I started in fourth grade and I was a little behind and my parents wanted me to get up to par so I came here and instead of learning just what I was supposed to be learning, I learned a lot of foundation skills, that’s what we do here, I learn how to problem-solve,” said Muderlak.
Muderlak said he not only teaches kids math, but he also learns from his students.
“I feel like having this experience working with kids is really helpful because you learn a lot, obviously, from kids. They’ve got great creativity, great minds, and learning with kids can also help you work with adults too. It teaches you patience as you grow up in the world,” said Muderlak.
Nevaeh George is one of Muderlak’s students. She’s starting fourth grade this year. She said her goal is to stay a step ahead in her math studies, so she’ll always be prepared in the classroom.
George said she hopes to follow in her tutor’s footsteps and teach kids at Mathnasium when she’s in high school.
“(It’s) because I want to learn new skills, like if I forget something, I can learn it again and I want to see all the other kids learning stuff too,” said George.
Sadie Goldstein is also one of Muderlak’s students. She’s a sixth grader. She said she hopes to be a lawyer someday.
Goldstein said her math skills have improved from the tutoring. She said she’s also learned some important life lessons that will help her as she pursues her career goals.
“It helps me feel more confident that I can, if I don’t know it already, that I can figure it out, and if I do know it, I can learn more about it,” said Goldstein.
Ann Yurkowitz is the director at Mathnasium. Before taking the position, she was an elementary and middle school teacher for nearly three decades.
Yurkowitz said she wants to make math fun for kids as they learn and grow.
“So, we are like your math coaches, and everyone has a coach, even Giannis has a coach, and he’s an NBA player. Christian Yelich has a coach. So a coach is someone who can look at where you are at and take you to where you want to be,” said Yurkowitz.
It’s a concept that helped Muderlak evolve from student to “coach,” at Mathnasium. Muderlak said he has high hopes for the kids he tutors.
“My biggest wish is that they keep going into the school year with an open mind for knowledge and open mind for mistakes and just room to grow,” said Muderlak.
It’s a mindset Muderlak said he’ll keep teaching kids and bring with him wherever life takes him.