Recently, 73 of Watauga’s best math students met at the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University to test their mettle against their peers in the annual Mathcounts competition — a contest that tasks young mathematicians to tackle challenging math problems in a timed tournament format.
Teams from each school in Watauga practiced for several months leading up to the competition to hone their mathematics skills on multiple types of problems that include algebra, geometry, number sense, probability and statistics. The problems are designed to stretch students’ critical thinking and challenge them to learn advanced mathematics in middle school.
Hardin Park eighth-grader Aria Arnholt took home the individual championship in the competition, followed closely by Parkway eighth-grader Anya Tu.
Hardin Park School also performed well in the team competition, securing the top spot over all. The team was made up of Aria Arnholt, Sam Nystrom, Gwendolyn Anderson, and Ann Mellon.
Blowing Rock School’s team, made up of students Sadie Sharpe, Andrew Jones, Ollie Rupp and Hailey Gocke took home second place in the team contest.
Watauga County Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Stephen Martin, who helps to organize the contest, said students who took part in Mathcounts have an opportunity to strengthen a number of practical skills in the course of their work.
“Many people think of team competitions as primarily an athletic endeavor, but Mathcounts is a different type of academic competition — one that challenges student’s minds while also building teamwork, communication and problem solving skills,” Martin said.
“Math education is vital to success in today’s world and our teachers do a great job preparing students by focusing on the basic skills while also challenging students to extend their thinking and reasoning to apply math in real world situations.”
Martin thanked the Appalachian State University for hosting the competition — allowing students to compete locally without having to travel down the mountain. Martin also thanked Blue Ridge Energies, the Professional Engineers of North Carolina and mPrints for supporting the event.
For more information on Mathcounts, visit www.mathcounts.org.