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Shawnee Mission West's online student newspaper

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Mathematicians Score High at Emporia State Competition


Every year, hordes of students attend math competitions like Mathletics and Math League, but Brad Tennant, math teacher, has a different tradition with his students. Tennant takes a group of students to the Donald L. Bruyr Mathematics Day at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas, where the students test their luck against a vast number of schools from all around the state.

“It’s nice to put my kids in a room with really bright math students, many of which they will be going to college with. They have to step up their game,” Tennant said.

As he got his teaching degree from Emporia State, Tennant enjoys heading back to his alma mater school, and he’s been able to bring talented math students to this event for eight years.

“It’s always nice to go down there and see all of my old teachers in addition to competing,” Tennant said.

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Every West student that competed at the competition was a student of Tennant’s Calculus 3 class, with exception of Karthik Kailash, sophomore, who is currently taking Calculus BC.

Taking place on Wednesday, October 12, students had to miss an entire day of school, considering that they had to take a two hour bus ride to the competition and back. It took place in the newly-remodeled Emporia State Memorial Union.

The competition, split into two different categories: individual and team, was free for all students. The team competitions were, as Alex Marschman, senior and Calculus 3 student, put it, “fun, competitive, and really intense.”

Marschman was on the Math Scramble team, which was one of three teams that West had at the competition. The Algebra team, consisting of seniors Spencer Jones, Sam Clark, and Cesar Luna, placed 5th out of dozens of schools, while the Geometry team, consisting of Kailash and seniors Tim Dodderidge and Megan Smith, placed 7th. Clark was very satisfied with his team’s performance, though he considered many of the Algebra questions to be more straightforward.

“There was a huge adrenaline rush when we got questions right that we were unsure about,” Clark said.

Though Marschman’s team, which also consisted of seniors Ryan Lansdon and Jeb Stewart didn’t place in the top 10, she’s still content with her overall performance.

“We forgot a lot of older skills. We’re too advanced to really know some of the material,” Marschman said.

Marschman competed in the individual contest as well as team, placing in the top 50% of her division in the Algebra category. Jones also placed in the top 50% in Algebra, as well as Lansdon, Stewart, and Smith, who competed in the Geometry division. The individual competition was basically a ScanTron test.

“There were 20 multiple choice questions and 3 tie-breakers (word problems). I felt good on the multiple choice section, but the tie-breakers were super hard,” Lansdon said.

Tennant was very content with the students’ overall performance at the competition. His group of students were basically a loose group, while many other schools were very organized.

“The teams did a pretty good job considering that we didn’t practice. Some teams meet every day after school and do similar problems,” Tennant said.

The full results can be viewed here:

Photo by Tim Dodderidge

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Mathematicians Score High at Emporia State Competition