Sophomore Makaio Wakeley has a knack for solving Rubix cubes. His talent isn’t only limited to himself, however. In his spare time, Wakeley spends time going to elementary schools to show mentally disabled students how to solve the cube. Wakeley has been working with these students for quite a bit, enjoying his time spent helping out the kids.
Southwest Shadow: When and how did you get into Rubix cubes?
Makaio Wakeley: I got into Rubix cubes back when I was eight. My dad showed me how to solve one and I instantly had an interest in them.
Shadow: How many cubes have you collected?
MW: Too many to be honest. I have over thirty in my room, and a lot of the cubes aren’t even the standard 3×3 ones. I have more of the special brands, like Lubix, which makes the cubes looser, and different styles like 4×4 and 2×2 cubes.
Shadow: What was your fastest time solving a Rubix cube?
MW: The fastest I ever solved one was in about twelve seconds. I used a Lubix and my fingers were moving super fast. Now I usually finish solving a Rubix cube in around twenty seconds.
Shadow: When and how did you get into this volunteer work?
MW: I started volunteering back in eighth grade, when my dad asked me if I was interested in doing so. My dad, who works with mentally disabled kids, thought it would be a cool idea if I came along with him after school ends to demonstrate how a Rubix cube works. I didn’t think it would be the most enjoyable thing when I started, but eventually I got excited whenever I could go, since it made the kids happy.
Shadow: What schools have you currently volunteered for?
MW: Right now, I’ve just been going to my old school, Tanaka. Whenever my dad gets called into there he asks if I want to come along. Recently, my dad got a job teaching at Steele, so I am probably going to start volunteering there more often.
Shadow: What do you do once you show up to do volunteer work?
MW: Most of the time I just do whatever the kids want me to do. It usually consists of me just solving Rubix cubes and teaching kids the different algorithms of a cube. Algorithms are ways you can solve the cube, if you didn’t know. Sometimes they ask me to do some different things, like explaining how a Rubix cube works or even asking me about how long I’ve been doing this, that sort of stuff.
Shadow: Have you ever successfully taught a student you volunteer for how to solve a Rubix cube?
MW: Sadly, I haven’t. I can’t show up to the school every day, so I don’t always have one-on-one experience with them. I have taught a few of my friends how to solve them, because I have more time to help them than I do with the kids.
Shadow: Do you have any specific reasons for spending your time with these kids?
MW: To be honest, I do it because I like it when I can improve a person’s day just by showing them something as simple as solving a Rubix cube. I’d much rather be doing this volunteer work than just sit at home, because then I can make someone just a little bit happier, and that makes me feel good.
Shadow: Have any of the kids you spend time with shown a genuine interest in solving Rubix cubes?
MW: Since I don’t spend every day with the kids, I’d like to think that a few of them have gotten really into it. Once when I went to volunteer, a few of the students brought their very own cubes, and it made me smile because I saw they were interested in what I was doing. Maybe they just brought them to make me feel good too, but I still think they spend time trying to solve them back at home.