Hundreds of middle-school students rambled around the UC Irvine Student Center last month as they participated in the Southern California State MATHCOUNTS competition. This year's Mathletes prepared for months to finally compete with fellow students from all over the state. Orange County's Rancho San Joaquin Middle School students took the winning title for Team Competitions.
The annual competition, hosted by the UCI Department of Mathematics, has taken place at UC Irvine for many years. Fifty-two schools from all over Southern California were represented in the state competition. MATHCOUNTS is a nationwide program designed to boost the math competency of middle school students in our public school system. The program features a series of competitions with elimination rounds based on team and individual effort. Competitions start at the regional level, leading to a statewide competition and concluding with a national competition. To prepare students for these competitions junior high school teachers lead tutoring sessions for several months preceding the competitions. Participation is open to any sixth, seventh, or eighth grade student. Nationwide involvement totals more than 350,000 students from 7,500 junior high schools.
In this year’s competition, Mathletes were tested in the early hours through written exams, and in the afternoon – they were put to the real challenge. Parents, coaches, students and volunteers filled the Crystal Cove auditorium to watch the exciting Countdown Round, as the top individual scoring students competed head-to-head to solve math problems in 45 seconds.
Reyd Nguyen from Black Mountain Middle School won both the Countdown Round and Individual Competition. Reyd will be part of the four-person team representing California in the Washington D.C. National competition.