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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, May 29, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsProblem Solved: Virgin Islands National Mathcounts Team Announced

Problem Solved: Virgin Islands National Mathcounts Team Announced

Representing the U.S. Virgin Islands with winning coach Michele Humphries are, from left, Naazir Joseph, Teague Gleason Daniel Xu, and Sanjiv Bachan. (Source photo by Diana Dias)

Ten of the best math students from local public, private and parochial schools battled it out in a three-round competition on St. Croix Thursday, with four advancing to the National Mathcounts competition in Washington, D.C.

Sanjiv Bachan from Antilles School came in first place as the top scorer; second was Daniel Xu, also from Antilles School; third was Teague Gleason from Good Hope Country Day School, while fourth place went to Naazir Joseph from Church of God Academy. Fifth-place went to Evan Fahie from the Lockhart Elementary School, who will serve as an alternate. Antilles School won top team overall, allowing their coach Michele Humphries to lead the V.I. team at nationals in Washington, D.C. in May.

After his win, Bachan shared his excitement, saying, “It feels good! In Mathcounts over the last three years, I’ve come second in the state round, and I came third the year prior. There’s year after year improvement that I am really proud of.”

During the competition Thursday, students battled it out in team, sprint and target rounds.  Unfortunately, due to time constraints, the final countdown round could not happen.

Education’s St. Croix District Math Coordinator Juanita Boneque said that Mathcounts is celebrating 42 years and she’s participated in 20 of those years.

“When these kids do these math problems, it is not only math problems that they do, but it goes way beyond, like linear algebra and statistics. The coaches do a phenomenal job with the strategies that they use to get them there,” she said. “One of the things that we want to develop is good critical thinking and by doing math, they can do that, too. This is where you mold your engineers, your physicists, your doctors. Math is one of the key components to getting them where they need to go.”

Humphries caught up with the Source prior to the announcement of the winners and said, “We have six students at this level of competition today. We’re hoping we take a few of those top four spots and make the national team. It really gives them a challenge and gives them a boost.”

Humphries has been a coach for the Antilles school for 25 years but has been competing for 29 years.

Last year coach Sara Dykstra for the Good Hope Country Day School won for top team.

“It’s been great, this is my second year with the Mathcounts program. Last year I was fortunate enough to be the coach of the national team because my team just beat out the Antilles Team by a quarter of a point. So, I got to travel to Orlando with the top four students and compete on the national level. The kids really thrive and really enjoy showing what they can do mathematically and exercising those brains,” she said.

Church of God’s coach, Steven Marcel, said, “It’s always a pleasure to work with the students and to push them. Limits help them to learn their potential and doing math with the students helps them to discover themselves, helps them to research and find answers to hard problems. It’s a pleasure working with these students, I really enjoy doing this and whatever we do at our school we do it for the students.”

Encouraging other teachers to take part in Mathcounts, he added, “It does something fantastic for these children.”

Student mathletes went through three rounds of competition Thursday. (Source photo by Diana Dias)

During the rounds, parents and coaches patiently waited for their competitors to complete their problems. Parent Kelly Simon, whose son William Simon in the eighth grade attending the Good Hope Country Day School, said, “I love the fact that this is available to the kids in the territory to get to participate in an academic event and get to meet kids from different schools and other islands. It’s neat to be around the other educators, parents and coaches. It is interesting because we are here supporting them taking a math test.”

Malerie Gleason, whose son Teague Gleason won third place, added that the students had to take away from their free time. “I think they did really well,” she said.

The V.I. Education Department thanked its Division of Curriculum and Instruction for its remarkable efforts in organizing the Mathcounts competitions. The Rotary Club of St. Thomas II and the Mid-Isle Rotary Club helped with the sponsorship of district competitions on St. Thomas and St. Croix respectively.

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