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Highlands Ranch student stuns audience at Pi Day assembly

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HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- In honor of Pi Day, Arrowwood Elementary School in Highlands Ranch held a Pi assembly.

Students were challenged to memorize and recite the numbers in pi. The first digits are 3.14159265359. One fifth-grader blew away the competition.

Samuel Childs has a special gift with numbers.

“He loves numbers. Actually, before he could even talk, we knew he had an excellent memory," his mother Cynthia Childs said. "He would memorize directions in the car, he would memorize where a toy was a year later. He didn’t speak until he was 4. He does have a diagnosis of autism.

"His language is numbers ... that’s how he likes to communicate. It’s like his hobby. Some kids play soccer, some kids play baseball. He likes numbers.”

Said his father, Scott Childs: "He literally started pi and the whole thing picking it up in December, so you’re talking three months with it and it’s taking off with it.”

Scott Childs developed a computer program to see if Samuel was getting the numbers correct. He has gotten up to 6,000 digits correct.

"I’m really mind boggled with it," Scott Childs said.

“It’s incredible," teacher's aide Lynda Horan said. "It’s hard to imagine someone can have that in their head.”

And it’s not just pi.

"If you give him like a four-digit multiplication number by two or three numbers, he will look at it for a while, then he will write it down," Horan said. "I have to use a calculator or multiply it out to see if he’s right. He always is.”

During the school assembly, Samuel recited the numbers by heart, not only impressing his teachers and classmates, but surprising his parents as well.

"It brought me to tears," Cynthia Childs said. "That’s the first time he’s ever spoken it. He doesn’t speak it at home. This is the first time to speak the digits.

I felt relieved. Maybe he can utilize this gift, perhaps down the road some sort of career.”

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