MARCH 3, 1997
NSJH official Mathcounts Team with their first place trophy, won at the recent Chapter Competition (left to right): Jeremy Wilson, Gary Stute, Coach Cindy Trujillo, Kenny Walden. Team member Erin MacKintosh is not pictured.
Photo by Deborah Stone/Northwest News.
by Deborah Stone
What makes Northshore Junior High School a formidable competitor in math competitions from the district to state levels? Perhaps it's the school's motivating and dedicated math teachers and coaches or the strengths of its math program, or maybe it's due to the talents of the students themselves.
The answer must lie in a combination of all these factors which add up to yet another first place victory for NSJH's official math team at the recent 1997 Chapter Mathcounts Competition, where fifteen teams from public and private schools around the Eastside met and competed against each other Feb. 8th at Rosehill Jr. High in Redmond.
Mathcounts is a cooperative project sponsored by the National Society of Professional Engineers, CNA Insurance Companies, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, NASA, and the U.S. Department of Education. Competitions are held at the district, chapter, state, and national levels. Students in teams and as individuals are challenged to solve problems in the areas of statistics, algebra, geometry, and applications. As a team, members must use group skills to work efficiently together and interact with one another under time constraints and pressure.
All four of NSJH's official Mathcounts team, Erin Mackintosh, Gary Stute, Kenny Walden, and Jeremy Wilson, scored in the top ten individually, as well as earning a first place finish as a team. According to their coach, Cindy Trujillo, math teacher at NSJH for the past eleven years, the students practice solving problems and working together as a team several times a week after school and occasionally on the weekends.
"These kids enjoy the challenges of math and the excitement of competition," says Trujillo. She adds, "The questions at competitions tie everything together and they receive lots of experience they normally wouldn't get in a math class."
Trujillo herself is a math enthusiast who sees each problem as a puzzle and the enjoyment is in seeing how the pieces fit together. She likes coaching for competitions and says, "These kids have so much potential. They eat it all up, every challenge they get."
Her son, eighth grader Gary Stute, a member of the teams says, "Math's fun! I like improving my skills and seeing how good I can get at it." He attributes much of his interest in the subject to his parents, who are both involved in the field. His plans for the future lean toward computer science.
Kenny Walden, one of his teammates, is interested in physics, an area that requires much math ability. Both of his parents are teachers and according to him, he was encouraged to explore his curiosities at an early age.
On March 22, the team heads to the State Mathcounts Competition in Auburn where they are hoping to do well and add another trophy to their well-stocked case. Success at the state level will lead to the ultimate challenge of the National Competition in Washington, D.C. in late spring.