Education Opinion

Take Note

March 31, 1999 1 min read

Opera star

Adar Garcia has become a virtuoso in the classroom and on the stage.

When he isn’t teaching 3rd grade at the Carver School in Yuma, Ariz., Mr. Garcia can be found performing in operas during the summer.

The 30-year-old tenor, originally from Mexico, says that teaching allows him to participate in two activities he loves. “I think both are my life,” he said.

Mr. Garcia said he tries to share his love for opera with his students as much as possible. “While my students read, I put classical music on in the background.”

After he completes his first year teaching at the 580-student school, Mr. Garcia plans to sing with the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, Calif., this summer.

He discovered his true calling with the help of one of his teachers. Until he was attending the University of Arizona in Tucson, he didn’t even realize that he could sing. He started out majoring in music education but switched to voice performance at the urging of a professor.

As if teaching and singing weren’t enough to keep him engaged, Mr. Garcia has also found time to work on his master’s degree at Northern Arizona University.

Memory mogul

Jake Enget’s memory and his love of math have turned him into something of a celebrity at Fargo South High School in North Dakota.

The high school junior only wanted a shot at winning the $90 graphing calculator up for grabs in a contest to see who could recite the most digits of pi--the irrational, infinite, and nonrepetitive number that most people round up to 3.14.

He memorized and recited 1,001 digits and got a little more than expected. The effort, which took him roughly 10 hours to memorization and 10 minutes of recitation, has paid off beyond the calculator he won.

In the past few weeks, the 16-year-old has appeared on “The Today Show,” was asked to audition for a sitcom on network television, and is waiting for a call to appear on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”

“I never imagined this,” said the teenager, who memorized the numbers by putting them to a rhythm and grouping them in a seven-number sequence.

He has “lost” some numbers in the past few days, he admitted. But Jake says, “the first couple of hundred will always stay with me.”

--Karen L. Abercrombie & Adrienne D. Coles

A version of this article appeared in the March 31, 1999 edition of Education Week as Take Note