Talent for numbers

Local eighth grader Chris Strynar is getting a head start on his college education by attending classes at Wheaton.

The thirteen-year-old from Norton, Mass., discovered an early talent for mathematics and a passion for the subject, leading him to pursue academics at the college level starting in fifth grade, when he took courses at nearby Bristol Community College, according to a recent piece in The Sun Chronicle. He was just 10 years old.

His dad, Chris Strynar Sr., told the newspaper that he first noticed his son’s mathematical abilities when the boy was in kindergarten.

“We used to play little math games with him, and noticed he had some ability,” Strynar Sr. said. “One day when we all got in the car for a short trip, he blurted out ‘teach me multiplication.'”

By the end of the car ride, his son was easily working multiplication problems, Strynar Sr. said.

This fall, the teen is taking a physics class with Wheaton Professor John Collins, as well as an advanced mathematics course at Harvard University. According to his dad, Strynar has already earned 28 credits toward a college degree and is on track to complete it by the age of 16.

Interviewed by WCVB Channel 5 on Tuesday evening, Professor Collins said the teen was doing well in his class.

“He seems to enjoy the work. And I think that’s the key. When you enjoy the work, it’s not work anymore,” Collins said.