500 of region’s top mathematics students to compete March 29

Western Carolina University will host its 37th Annual High School Mathematics Contest Thursday, March 29, with more than 500 of the region’s top high school and junior high school mathematics students competing.

The students, representing nearly 30 schools, will compete for individual and school awards as well as advancement to regional and state mathematics contests.

Registration opens at 9:15 a.m. in the Ramsey Regional Activity Center. Orientation of the contestants starts at 10 a.m., and testing begins at 10:25 a.m. Students will have 70 minutes to complete the exams.

While the contestants are taking their exams, the faculty sponsors will hear a presentation by Michael Dougherty, dean of the College of Education and Allied Professions, titled “Initiatives Being Undertaken by Western Carolina University to Recruit Prospective Science and Mathematics Teachers.”

In addition to individual awards, winning teams will be decided in 4A-3A and 2A-1A senior high divisions and in a single junior high division. Eleven schools are entered in the 4A-3A division in which North Buncombe High School is the defending champion. Six schools will compete in the 2A-1A division, won last year by Carolina Day School. In the junior high division, 11 schools will compete. Brevard Middle School was the winner of this division last year.

Competition is offered in four subject divisions: Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry and Comprehensive. Western, one of 21 sites comprising the statewide contest network, is one of six sites that offer testing in four subject divisions. Entry totals are 116 for Algebra I, 119 for Algebra II, 114 for Geometry and 163 for Comprehensive.

The top 10 percent of winners in Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry advance to the state finals for the western region at the University of North Carolina at Asheville on May 3. Students scoring in the top 7 percent in the Comprehensive division qualify for the State Mathematics Contest April 19 at the School of Science and Mathematics in Durham.

The top 20 finishers in the state are offered full scholarships to attend a North Carolina college or university of their choice, including WCU.

Awards at the WCU contest include certificates of merit to the top finishers who qualify for the next round of competition in each subject division and certificates of participation for all contestants. Plaques will be awarded to the top three schools in each team division, according to mean scores. Each of the winning schools receives a rotating trophy for a year.

Welcoming the students will be Robert Kehrberg, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; and Joseph Klerlein, acting head of the mathematics and computer science department. Ralph Willis, associate professor of mathematics, is contest chairman. Division chairpersons are Dennis Hembree, Algebra I; Jeffrey Lawson, Algebra II; Harold Williford, Geometry; and Nicholas Norgaard, Comprehensive. Announcement of subject division and school winners will be at 1:15 p.m. in the Ramsey Center.