Adding enthusiasm to an affinity for math equalled success for Empire Elementary School students in a national competition.
“I wanted to test my brain so I could get prizes,” said Logan Oris, 7. “I actually felt like I got smarter.”
First-grade teacher Adrienne Wiggins selected students in second through fifth grades who scored the highest on the standardized math test issued by the school district, offering them the opportunity to compete in the Noetic Learning Math Contest.
“The contests is a lot of problem-solving skills; they’re not just simple computation,” Wiggins said. “These are our top math students. I wanted them to be challenged.”
Students met for study sessions before school. Although the class didn’t start until 7:45 a.m,, Wiggins said, students were often waiting at her door by 7:15.
“It’s kind of fun to do tests,” explained Cole Williams, 10.
Students also studied on their own.
“I had these flash cards at my house, and my cousin would help me,” said Alexis Lovett, 9. “She would give me word problems to solve.”
Students competed against 25,166 other students from 556 schools in 45 states. Eleven Empire Elementary School students earned National Honorable Mention, scoring in the top half.
Wiggins said she was pleased with their performance for their first time competing, and for the joy they find in math.
“I’m a math geek myself, so I try to rub that off on my students,” she said.
And it helped Sarai Jauregui, 10, affirm her sense of self.
“This is my opportunity to show everyone my talent that is usually overlooked,” she said.