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Fil-Latino boy shines in calculus

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – A teenage Filipino-Salvadoran made the headlines after answering all the questions in a three-hour, 15-minute Advanced Placement calculus exam correctly – making him one of only 12 in the world to do so.

The Los Angeles Times reported that 17-year-old Cedrick Argueta bested 302,531 students who took the mind-crushing test, earning every single point for all the items.

Cedrick is the son of couple Marcos Argueta, who is from El Salvador and works in maintenance, and Lilian, a Filipino nurse who takes on two jobs at nursing homes to support her family.

The family believes it would be a “godsend” if the score would earn Cedrick a college scholarship. The boy will graduate this June and wants to take up engineering.

Describing himself as quiet and humble, Cedrick suddenly became a celebrity at Lincoln High, a school of about 1,200 students in the heavily Latino Lincoln Heights neighborhood. Media outfits have also called on him and his mother for an interview.

School principal Jose Torres said “it’s mind-blowing” as he pointed out that, in his 31 years as educator, “It’s the first time I’ve had something of this magnitude.”

Cedrick and his classmates took the exam administered by the nonprofit College Board for possible college credits in May.

Although he doesn’t see himself as a genius, he said math has always made sense to him. He appreciates the creativity, the different methods one can take to solve a problem.

“There’s also some beauty in it being absolute,” Cedrick said. “There’s always a right answer.”

Lilian, pausing during one of her shifts this week, said her son’s accomplishment is still sinking in. He texted her when he found out, and she simply told him “it was great” but, she said, she didn’t understand the magnitude until reporters started calling.

She added she always told Cedrick and his younger sister to finish their homework and to “read, read, read” but that they knew she’d be proud of them whether or not they got straight A’s.

“I’m just thankful,” she said. “God gave me two perfect kids.”

To celebrate, the Arguetas took Cedrick to Roy’s, his favorite restaurant in Pasadena, where he ordered a big pork shank. He was still excited about the free souffle the waiters brought him after learning his score.

Anthony Yom, Cedrick’s calculus teacher, said he knew most of his kids would score 5s (the top score) but was blown away when he learned that Cedrick answered all items correctly.

He added that the odds of such a thing is like winning the lottery.

Yom also revealed that Cedrick, who is preparing for four more components of the AP exam, including another calculus segment, also earned perfect scores on the science and math sections of the ACT exam – a standardized test for high school achievement and college admissions in the US – last year.

ACIRC

ADVANCED PLACEMENT

ANTHONY YOM

CEDRICK

CEDRICK ARGUETA

COLLEGE BOARD

EL SALVADOR

JOSE TORRES

LATINO LINCOLN HEIGHTS

LILIAN

LINCOLN HIGH

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