WCU hosts 40th mathematics contest

Western Carolina University will host its 40th annual High School Mathematics Contest on Thursday, March 25, with 451 of the region’s top high school and junior high school mathematics students competing.

The students, representing 26 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 for 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 be served refreshments in the Hospitality Room and participate in a two-part session. Tuval Foguel, professor of mathematics and head of the math and computer science department at WCU, will present the first-half of the session, titled “The Sonya Kovalevsky Day – A Mathematics Workshop for Female High School Students.” The second presentation will be given by Ralph Willis, associate professor of mathematics at WCU, titled “The Forty-Year History of the WCU Annual High School Mathematics Contest.”

In addition to individual awards, winning teams will be decided in the 4A-3A and 2A-1A senior high divisions and in a single junior high division. Eight schools are entered in the 4A-3A division, in which North Buncombe High School is the defending champion. Eight schools will compete in the 2A-1A division, which Carolina Day School won last year. In the junior high division, 10 schools will compete. Cane Creek Middle School was the winner of the division last year.

Competition is offered in four subject divisions: algebra I, algebra II, geometry and comprehensive. WCU, one of 16 sites comprising the statewide contest network, is one of five sites that offers testing in four subject divisions. Entry totals are 93 for algebra I, 115 for algebra II, 102 for geometry and 141 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 in late April. Students scoring in the top 8 percent in the comprehensive division qualify for the State Mathematics Contest on April 15 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 the year.

Welcoming the students will be Foguel and Randy Harter, past president of the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Willis is contest chairman. Division chairpersons are Axelle Faughn, algebra I; Geoff Goehle, algebra II; Risto Atanasov, geometry; and Kate Best, comprehensive. The testing coordinator is Joseph Klerlein, professor emeritus of mathematics at WCU.

Announcement of subject division and school winners will be at 1:15 p.m. in the main arena of the Ramsey Center.

For more information about the mathematics contest, contact Willis by e-mail at rwillis@ wcu.edu or by telephone at 828-227-3946. For more information about WCU’s department of math and computer science, call 828-227-7245