An ambitious group of eight Middle School students has been chosen to represent Dedham Country Day School at the annual MathCounts national competition in February at Melrose High School. Math Coordinator Brenda Leith made the announcement this week.
They are Eighth Graders Mimi Cabot, Isabella Collins, Arianna Sougarides, Maggie Swanson, and Marianna Tsoumbanos, along with Sixth Graders Brady Chitkara, Angela Giordano, and Charlie Volpe.
Students who were interested in competing took a qualifying test made up of questions from past years’ tests. Because they haven’t yet studied most of the material covered on the test, it requires them to use their reasoning abilities instead of just memorization or computation.
DCD competes in the most competitive chapter in Massachusetts in which 250 students in Grades 6 through 8 answer questions in three rounds, two independently and one in groups of four.
The answers are timed, and students must work quickly without making errors, paying careful attention to reading each question in detail. In the final stage of the competition, the top ten scorers from the three rounds compete jeopardy style.
Math Coordinator Brenda Leith, who hosts a Math Club once a week, says the competition is not for everyone. “The contest is very intense,” she says. “Not every student wants that type of competitive experience. It can be very stressful for some of them, even the strongest ones.”
She says the DCD students who do compete really enjoy the experience and come away from the contest amazed at their peers’ math knowledge.
The important thing she says is that the students have a chance to challenge themselves. Besides being willing to give up a Saturday to participate in the contest, students must also take on extra work to prepare for it. All eight Math Team members have been coming to school early once a week for Math Club at 7:30 a.m.
“The challenge is there if they want it,” she says. “The Math Team has a lot of preparation ahead of them in the next few months.”