MathCounts Competition 2016

Area schools take part in annual Mathcounts competition

Posted by Ken Grabowski, Manistee News 
February 3rd, 2016

SCOTTVILLE — Never underestimate the power of a middle school student when they want to compete in an educational event.

On Wednesday morning area students woke up to wet, snowy conditions that forced the cancellation of classes in all Manistee County schools. It was also the day that the Mathcounts competition was scheduled to take place at West Shore Community College.

However, school wasn’t cancelled in Mason, Oceana and Lake counties, so the Mathcounts competition went forward with the condition that students from the districts not open still welcome to take part it in.That started off a flurry of emails and phone calls among students and parents in the Manistee Area Public and Onekama school districts, who made sure most of their teams could still attend the event.

Members of the Onekama Middle School teams take part in the Mathcounts competition. Even though school was canceled on Wednesday students were able to take part when parents volunteered to drive them to the competition. (News Advocate photo)

Additional information and photos coming

Students from Bear Lake, Kaleva Norman Dickson and Manistee Catholic Central were unable to make the competition. All of the Mason, Lake and Oceana county schools attended except Baldwin and Walkerville schools.

Students took part in sprint, target, team and countdown rounds during the afternoon. They also were given time to enjoy the gymnasium, ice arena and pool before an awards presentation took place. Questions for the test are created by the engineers and designed to test the math skills of the students.

Kathy Surd, academic consultant for the Mason-Lake Oceana Mathmatics and Science Center which sponsor the event with Manistee Intermediate School District and local engineers, said they were pleased with the turnout considering the weather conditions.

“We are probably at about 230 kids here today,” said Surd. “It is really tremendous to have the Manistee middle and Onekama middle school kids here. It shows a lot of pride that they made it happen. I am expecting they will do quite well.”

One of the big benefits to the students taking part in the event is the scholarship program.

“Every student that participates here today gets a scholarship to take a Calculus I class or higher math class at West Shore Community College,” she said. “I know they are using them because I get contacted by parents and students about how they can use it.”

Onekama Consolidated Schools math teacher Michele Warman said the kids and parents really stepped up to attend the event.

“It was quite the challenge because we had no school,” said Onekama Middle School math teacher Michele Warman. “So from the moment we heard there was no school there were emails and text messages on what we were going to do. We were really supported by parents and our superintendent Kevin Hughes who made sure we got down here.”

Warman said some students were sick or unable to attend for other reasons.

She said the kids look forward to Mathcounts every year and they didn’t want to miss it.

“We do assessments during the year to see where the kids are, and those who score the highest or take on extra challenges in the classrooms are usually the ones we bring to Mathcounts because they are strongly motivated,” said Warman. “This morning they sent me just as many text messages asking how they were going to  get to Mathcounts.”

Manistee  Middle School math teachers Kathy Smith and Amy Watkins said the same groundswell of support came from parents and students to attend the event.

“We were supposed to have seven teams of four students and we ended up with six teams of four and one alternate,” said Smith. “It was 25 kids in all, which isn’t  bad on a snow day. The kids were emailing right away this morning, so they were excited and want to be a part of it. This is such a neat activity and is such a big undertaking that it is great to see so many kids participating.”

Watkins said Mathcounts provides a solid challenge for their talented students.

“It is a great program for the gifted and talented students to have and outlet for math and learning,” she said.

Results of the competition were not ready as of press time and will be published in an upcoming edition of the Manistee News Advocate.