Region’s top math students to compete April 7

Western Carolina University will host its 41st Annual High School Mathematics Contest on Thursday, April 7, with 574 of the region’s top high school and junior high school mathematics students competing.

The students, representing 29 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, faculty sponsors will be served refreshments in the Ramsey Center Hospitality Room and participate in a session presented by Sloan Despeaux, WCU associate professor of mathematics, titled: “The First Attacks on a ‘Man-Eating Problem’: the Four Color Problem in the Nineteenth Century.”

In addition to individual students receiving awards, winning teams will be decided in the 1A-2A and 3A-4A senior high divisions and in a single junior high division. Nine schools are entered in the 3A-4A division, in which Roberson High School is the defending champion. Ten schools will compete in the 1A-2A division, won last year by Carolina Day School. Ten schools will compete in the junior high division, which was won by Cane Creek Middle School 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 offering testing in four subject divisions. Entry totals are 105 students for Algebra I, 142 for Algebra II, 147 for Geometry and 180 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 Thursday, April 28. Students scoring in the top 8 percent in the Comprehensive division qualify for the State Mathematics Contest, set for Thursday, April 14, 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 Randy Harter, past president of the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCCTM); Wendy Ford, dean of WCU’s College of Arts and Sciences; and Tuval Foguel, head of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department.

Axelle Faughn and Risto Atanasov, assistant professors of mathematics, are contest chairs. Division chairs are Mark Budden, Algebra I; Geoff Goehle, Algebra II, Kate Best, Geometry; and Andrew Chockla, Comprehensive. Testing coordinator is Kathy Jaqua.

Announcement of subject division and school winners will be at 1:15 p.m. in main arena of the Ramsey Center. Harter will join contest and university personnel in the awards ceremony.

The following schools will participate:

Buncombe County: Asheville High, Cane Creek Middle, Enka High, Erwin High, Erwin Middle, North Buncombe High, Owen High, Owen Middle, Reynolds High and Roberson High.

Cherokee County: Murphy High.

Haywood County: Tuscola High.

Henderson County: Hendersonville High.

Jackson County: Smoky Mountain High.

Macon County: Franklin High and Nantahala.

Madison County: Madison Middle.

McDowell County: East McDowell Junior High, McDowell Early College, McDowell High and West McDowell Junior High.

Mitchell County: Harris Middle, Mayland Early College and Mitchell High.

Transylvania County: Brevard Middle.

These private schools from Buncombe County also will compete: Asheville Home School, Carolina Day Middle School, Carolina Day School and Hangar Hall School.