‘Mathletes’ at West gain Gold, then beat 1-in-157 odds in drawing

       West Middle School's MathCounts team members have to be feeling good about themselves this week. How could they not? The 20 students in math teacher Phil Hutcherson's extracurricular learning endeavor have proven themselves to be both lucky and good.

Students on West Middle School’s MathCounts team: (From left) front row – Rob Newell, Aidan Murphy, Talley Cain, Sami King, Moriah Yeh, Miles Christian, Logan Taylor, Audrey Miklitsch and Joseph Nunez; back row – Jacob Carson, Tania Stoecker, Aaron Medellin, Rachel Lewis, Ella Livesay, Madison Darby-McClure, France Farrell, Dylan Roche, Jeff Reinsch and Joshua Munson. Not pictured: Claire Harris.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The “good” came from solving math problems at a high enough proficiency that West is one of just 5 schools in the state (and 157 in the country) to achieve the Gold level.
       The “lucky” came from the group having West's name picked in a grand-prize drawing among the 157, which will result in expense-paid trips for four team members who can represent the school against 56 other teams from around the country at the national MathCounts event in Orlando, Fla., May 8. Otherwise, West would not have been able to go. “There was no way we could afford it,” Hutcherson said.
       Meeting before school every Wednesday, last year his team gained the Silver, as a result of quality scores on monthly “challenges” during the school year through the MathCounts program. This year, after again attaining Silver, the West group qualified in March to take MathCounts' 10-question Gold-level challenge. They succeeded by having 14 of the 20 students score 80 percent or better.
       The amount of time the team meets before school is 45 minutes. This means the students actually had less time to take the test than the full hour the Gold-level challenge allows, Hutcherson said.
       “It's lot of problem solving,” Hutcherson said of the program, adding that MathCounts is sponsored by different corporations with an engineering focus that want to “emphasize the importance of math.”

Here's one of the problems that was put before West's MathCounts students as part of the Gold challenge.
Courtesy of Phil Hutcherson/MathCounts

       West's “mathletes” (as MathCounts calls them) were honored at a special school assembly this week, and a banner proclaiming the Gold achievement will be sent to the school.

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