What’s Up South Texas!: San Antonio 7-year-old educates elementary kids in math during pandemic

Josiah Ackah’s goal is to have educational videos in four different languages including Japanese

A 7-year-old in San Antonio has been helping other children learn math during the pandemic.

SAN ANTONIO – A 7-year-old boy in San Antonio has spent his time in quarantine helping other children learn math by way of a YouTube channel.

Josiah Ackah has always been an active boy.

“This child has been unique from the time he was born,” said Sharon Ackah, his mother. “He has loved every ball sport. He loves it when I tell this story. I was pregnant with his younger brother Aiden and there was this tennis court near the base where we were living. Josiah wasn’t even two yet. I put him down and turned to get my purse and when I looked back up, he shot across the street. Almost gave me a heart attack because a car was coming. He has chased every ball since.”

Josiah has played basketball, baseball, track, and has been on a swim team. Sharon Ackah and her husband Kwansah Ackah, who both work for the military, said their purpose of coming to San Antonio was to provide a dual language program to their sons. Josiah’s ambition can be seen by others.

“His grades are great, but he talks to much in class,” Sharon Ackah joked. “As he graduated preschool, they all voted him across the board, ‘Most Likely to Become President of the United States’, so he has taken that to heart.”

He reads and writes in Spanish, but his biggest enjoyment is math.

“I really like the concept of how it works,” Josiah said. “Plus you can use it in many things in life.”

“He would always ask math questions that were way outside his age,” Sharon Ackah said. “I don’t know where he would come up with them but he would get it, even when you are thinking, ‘He is only five years old and why does he understand this?’ So yes, we realized he had a gift.”

With all three of their sons, they said they inspire them to use their passions to help others.

“When you have a gift, you have an obligation to share it,” Sharon Ackah said.

“We try to make them understand that, yes you can keep what you have to yourself and that is where it ends, but you can use it for others in the long run,” said Kwansah Ackah.

When the pandemic struck, Josiah began to think of ways he can use his gift to help other elementary kids.

“A lot of kids want to play video games,” Josiah said. “I saw a video where they said they were going to be home for three weeks. “I knew half the time, they are just going to sit on their videos games all the time like my brother does,” he laughed. “So I thought, to prevent that from happening, let’s also teach them some math.”

Josiah started his YouTube channel a couple of years ago, but began focusing on ways to teach other elementary kids different math equations in both Spanish and English. He even does so in creative ways.

“He comes up with these scenarios all the time,” Sharon Ackah said. “‘I am going to be wearing roller skates. I am going to be eating a mango when Aiden robs Steven. I am going to be doing that and that.’ I’m like, ‘Alright!’”

Josiah’s mom helps shoot and edit his productions when she is finished with a full day of hard work at her job.

" I am very not technical and a lot of times he and I will end up cracking up because he would be in the thick of the video and I am like, ‘I forgot to turn it on,’ as they laughed together. “He’s like, ‘I am firing you! I need another videographer!’”

Josiah has received many great reviews on his channel called, ‘Mathematicals.’

“They will ask him to do more videos or do them in Spanish,” Sharon Ackah said. “They will say, ‘You have to share this. Kids need this. A lot of children would understand this coming from a child,’ and that was a teacher saying this. He lights up when he gets it and he lights up with someone says, ‘I have learned something,’ or, ‘That was amazing,’ or, ‘You were really funny when you were showing those dancing fractions,’ or, ’How math can be fun!”

Josiah and his parents said they hope his story will inspire others like himself to be confident at doing ambitious things in life.

“Someone said to me one day that there are not too many kids that look like Josiah that will feel like they can do what he is doing, so the mere fact that they see him and they relate to him is empowering,” Sharon Ackah said. “Let your children lead you by their passion. Let our community shine and set an example that little black boys and girls everywhere can do it and that we are a community of talented children.”

If you know someone like Josiah who is making a difference in the South Texas community or who has a unique story, send us your tips. Contact Japhanie Gray on Facebook or @JGrayKSAT on Twitter. You can also send your tips to KSAT 12 & KSAT.com on Facebook.

About the Authors:

Japhanie Gray joined 10 News as an anchor in March 2022.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.