On Wednesday, November 21, students took on the first stage of the math challenge at Riverside Secondary School. The math challenge is a two-and-a-half-hour competition that serves as an effort to identify the best math students in the country. The process to get in is that if a student makes a certain percent-tile, he or she gets invited to go to the Math Olympics, Canada, which is a competition against other countries.
“We’ve only had two to three kids go into the math challenge in the twenty-three years I’ve been working here, because it is very tough,” said Mr. Carlo Muro, math teacher and volleyball coach at the school. “What I do is identify the best five or six students in grade 12 and invite them to participate.” The math challenge is by invitation only.
For the students getting ready for the competition, the math challenge website has many helpful links for studying and preparation. Ideally, there is a senior math club at the school where the students work and practice together as a group. “I know the ones we invited are going to the University of Toronto next year and having this on an application is a huge advantage,” said Muro. Most students are attending top universities next year and are hoping the math challenge will serve as a good reference on their academic resumes.
“It was very challenging, but it was fun because it’s a contest and you don’t really get any marks from it,” said Josh Caldwell, grade 12 student. “I’m planning on studying math at university, so I think that the contest is good enrichment and it’s something new rather than just doing the normal schoolwork questions. It’s a lot of problem solving and logic questions,” said Caldwell.
Waylin Won is one of the first grade 10 students to participate at the math challenge at Riverside. He mentioned how it taught him a lot of problem-solving, and he learned how to use different ways to find answers and new techniques. “It was very hard, but hopefully this will help me with university studies and references,” said Won.
Students do not receive credits from this, but it’s great for resumes and great to put on an application, especially into sciences or mathematics. Either way, the math competition is a productive and useful opportunity for those who excel at and love math.