[Alex Kaneko]

Welcome to my website

About Me

Hi! I’m Alex, and I’m a junior at Mass Academy. I was born in Tampa, but I moved to Shrewsbury when I was around 2. I attended Shrewsbury Public Schools up through tenth grade. I’m currently 17 years old, and I have a younger sister who’s 9. I enjoy spending time with my family, especially traveling and playing board games. In the winter I also enjoy skiing (picture on right) with my family. I have a pretty unusual ethnic background, as my father is Japanese while my mother is Eastern European (Moldovan and Russian). If I had to choose, I would prefer Japanese food, but Russian food is much more filling. I enjoy participating in both cultures, even though they are very different. I visited all three countries, and they were unique and beautiful in their own ways (picture of Moldova bottom left, Japan bottom right).

Me before I go skiing
Me and my sister in Moldova
Family in Japan

Sports

Cross country photo after a meet
Cross country photo during a meet

Throughout my childhood, I was always involved with sports, such as baseball, basketball, and soccer. I played in leagues, but I also just enjoyed playing them outside in my neighborhood. However, I focused on running entering 7th grade. I have been a runner for the Shrewsbury Cross Country and Track Team since then. My most memorable season was my sophomore year in cross country. It was my most challenging season as I was on the varsity team and everyone was practicing really hard. However, our hard work paid off as our team went undefeated and won the District Championship for the first time in the history of our school. You can read more about our season here.

Problem Solving

GIF of the quicksort algorithm visualized

I always loved to challenge myself mentally. I played chess as a kid and participated in tournaments. Although I don’t play competitively now, I occasionally play online for leisure or play with friends, and I spent a huge chunk of quarantine playing on chess.com. Although it can be hard sometimes, I love to do problem-solving. I became serious about math competitions in middle school, which require me to come up with creative ways to solve never-before-seen problems. I participated in a variety of contests, my favorite ones being the HMMT, AMC/AIME, and MAML. Being stuck on a problem can be very frustrating, but when you actually solve it, the satisfaction makes it worth it. The main resource I used to train for them was AoPS, which has great books and resources to improve your problem-solving skills. I recently dabbled in computer science competitions, specifically the USACO. It’s similar to math competitions but for algorithms, which I find really interesting and stimulating. My favorite algorithm is the Quicksort sorting algorithm, which you can see in the GIF above. I like it because even though it's really simple, it can have such amazing performance. I’m looking forward to furthering both my intuition and skills at Mass Academy.