OM SAKHALKAR: It all adds up for math whiz

Anna Kate Alford

Zuna Shabbir and Anna Kate Alford

 

Om Sakhalkar, resident math whiz at Stratford, has been at the academy for five years.

Om was born in the United States, but moved to India when he was very young to live with his grandparents.

“My parents were trying to do medical training and everything, and it wasn’t so easy to take care of me,” he said. “I lived in India for some time, so English is not really my first language because of it.”

He said although he doesn’t remember much about his time in India, it was a nice experience. Since his grandparents live in India, getting to spend time with them while he lived there was a plus.

Once Om reached Stratford, he skipped first grade. When asked if skipping a grade has affected him in the long run, he said: “I mean, not so much now. Back when I was younger, I was the tiny one  — I still kind of am. I guess back then it was really a bit of a jump. I’m really good at math, so the math wasn’t a problem. The English was kind of a problem because I was skipping a grade and I was not very good at English back then.”

In his free time, Om enjoys playing tennis, but he doesn’t have any future plans for it.

“At the most, [I would play] intramural tennis in college,” he said. “But even that’s very unlikely, too.”

Even though he doesn’t plan on playing in college, he still enjoys the sport and getting to compete with others.

Om is most well known around school for his talents in his favorite subject, math. In fact, one of his self-proclaimed hidden talents is multiplying, adding, or subtracting large sums in his head very quickly. Other talents include crossing his eyes.

Om loves all forms of math, but his favorite would probably be Statistics.

According to Om, his greatest accomplishment was when he competed at Stanford University in the math league during his freshman year and placed fourth.

When asked why he enjoys math so much, he replied, “I like working with numbers, it’s kind of like a new language… Math in general is a very problem-solving subject, and I really like problem-solving a lot.”

Not every subject is a breeze to Om. English is his least favorite subject.

“I guess it’s because when I was really little I wasn’t that good at English,” he said. “It’s gotten better and better, but I’m more about concrete details. I’m more about the tactical part of subjects. I’m not very creative, I’m more analytical, so I guess that’s why English is probably my least favorite subject.”

Om has applied to many colleges, but is still undecided and is quite ambivalent in his college options. He’s gotten into Georgia Tech, the honors program at the University of Georgia, Mercer, and Augusta. However, he’s still waiting to hear back from some colleges, including Emory, Brown, Cornell, and Duke.

After he graduates from Stratford, he plans on being a doctor.

Om said he will miss the teacher-student relationships and small class dynamic most from Stratford.

“In Stratford, we get really small class sizes; after school we get to meet the teacher in tutorial and the teacher helps us out. The teacher will do everything they can to help you out.  I’m not so sure that’s going to happen in college, and that’s something I’m probably going to miss the most about Stratford.”