For the second year in a row, Asheville School has proven that it has some of the best high school mathematicians in the country. The school’s talented math team recently placed 16 out of 135 teams competing in the 2011 Team Scramble, a national mathematics contest administered by National Assessment & Testing (http://www.natassessment.com) in Seattle, Washington.
“It was an excellent finish for us,” said Mike Hill, math coach and chair of Asheville School’s mathematics department. “In the ‘Team Scramble’ last year, we finished 23rd out of nearly 100 teams.”
By finishing in the top 20 schools, Asheville School math students were able to showcase their mathematical skills in a collaborative effort. Asheville School's team placed ahead of such schools as Albuquerque Academy in New Mexico and The Westminster Schools in Atlanta. To view the list of top schools, click here.
During the November competition, Dr. Hill observed the 19-member math team as they worked furiously and raced to answer 100 problems in a variety of mathematical topics in just 30 minutes. Dr. Hill credits team captain Jeff Park with the school’s most recent success.
“Jeff has done an excellent job of helping to increase participation within our student body, and of running weekly meetings, where students work challenging problems and discuss strategies for upcoming competitions,” Hill said.
Park, who described the competition as challenging, said he was certainly proud of the team’s finish.
“It was definitely not easy,” Park said. “I am proud that everyone on our team tried their best and did a wonderful job of helping us finish in 16th place out of 135 teams.”
With so many questions and so little time, competitors needed not only strong mathematical skills, but also the ability to quickly decide which problems to solve and which to skip. Because there was not nearly enough time for a single student to solve all of the problems, students collaborated to allocate the test questions amongst themselves and ensure that all questions were worked and double-checked.
Not resting on their laurels, Asheville School will participate in National Assessment & Testing’s 2011 Ciphering Time Trials on December 8 and the 2012 Four-by-Four Competition on February 2. Each of these contests features 10 rounds in which students have three minutes to answer problems, but the first requires students to work individually on three problems per round, while the second allows teams of four to tackle four problems in each round.
Future competitions for the Asheville School math team include a NAT Four-by-Four Competition in February, the AMC individual competition in February, and a NAT Collaborative Contest in April.
“We are also looking to add additional collaborative competitions for the Spring,” Dr. Hill said.
Asheville School sophomore Ian Van Wye, a resident of Biltmore Forest, competed in the national competition for the second time this year.
“Math competitions were somewhat daunting for me last year, particularly considering that I was only an Algebra II student,” Van Wye recalled. “The experience that I gained as a sophomore, however, has served to greatly bolster my confidence in my abilities as a math competitor and as a student in general.”
Math Club helps students challenge themselves to think at levels above what is ordinarily expected of math students in a classroom setting. Van Wye considers critical thinking and problem solving skills invaluable, and is considering studying economics at a collegiate level.
“It exposes me to unique challenges that I would not typically find in a regular math course, and allows me to exercise greater creativity in finding solutions to problems,” Van Wye said.
A nationally acclaimed co-ed college preparatory boarding and day school, Asheville School enrolls approximately 275 students from across the country and overseas. Recent graduates are attending Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Caltech, UCLA, UNC-Chapel Hill, Davidson, NC State, University of Virginia, Emory, Duke, and Wake Forest, among others.