Faith Lutheran’s Math Counts team wraps up season with the State Competition


Members of the Math Counts team pose for a picture after their Chapter Competition.

Lauren Tomita, Staff Writer

On February 20, Faith Lutheran’s Math Counts team competed in their first competition. Two members of the team advanced to the individual portion of the State Competition, which took place on March 12 at UNLV.

The Math Counts team’s practices took place from 3:30-5:00 on Tuesday and Thursday. At the weekly meetings, students solved problems given to them by the Math Counts organization. The problems related to Algebra, Geometry, number theories, general problem solving, sequences, patterns, and Statistics. Mr. Kenton Kirkpatrick coached and advised the Math Counts team. Not only did students solve practice problems, but they also used an app called Math Counts Trainer: A Math Competition Preparation Game. These problems challenged the students in Math Counts.

“It takes a lot of effort and thinking to solve problems we are given at practices,” said eighth grade student and member of the Math Counts team, Sara Short.

Practice problems made the students use critical thinking, and they took a new twist on concepts. The problems prepared students for their competitions in numerous ways.

“They are meant to, number one, introduce the students to new concepts. Number two, to practice concepts to get better at them, and number three to prepare them for the Chapter (Preliminary) Competition,” said Kirkpatrick.

Students were positively affected by the practice problems they solved at practices.

“They help me to remember formulas that I have learned,” said seventh grade student, Christiana Vancura.

Practice problems helped the students to enjoy the opportunity to compete in Math Counts, as well.

“We did a lot of worksheets, and it was a lot of fun competing,” said eighth grade student Braden Erwin.

To prepare for the competition, Kirkpatrick assigned the students homework called workouts. Also, some students participated in previous math competitions in elementary school.

“I did other math programs at my elementary school, Cornerstone, and I usually advanced to the finals,” said sixth grade student Stanley Chen.

Kirkpatrick chose the top eight students of his Math Counts team to compete in the Preliminary Competition. Six of the eight students attended the first competition. As a whole, the team did not advance to the State Competition. They competed against schools such as, Hyde Park, Coral Academy of Science, and Bob Miller. This year, the winning team was Hyde Park. However, Vancura and Erwin advanced to the State Competition.

While the thought of the competition might intimidate some people, Erwin looked at the competition from a different perspective.

“I wasn’t that nervous for the competition. I was there to have fun,”said Erwin.

Advancing to the National Competition was not a simple process, but only a selected number of students advanced in the competition.

“It’s very difficult to advance because only four kids from the State Competition will advance to the National Competition,” said Kirkpatrick.

At the State Competition, Erwin placed fifty-second in the state and Vancura placed forty-eighth in the state.

While the students at Faith Lutheran did not advance in the competition, students that advanced get an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. The student who wins the National Competition will receive a few thousand dollars in scholarship money, according to Kirkpatrick.

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