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Mathcounts Sharpens Young Minds

Feb. 26, 2009 — Nearly 100 sharpened minds and No. 2 pencils were put to the test Thursday morning in the Mathcounts Chapter Competition.
Some were focused on making it to states. Some to nationals. Others, like first-place winner Jordan Ladd – to Disney World.
Students from 14 St. Thomas and St. John schools were tested individually and as teams in algebra, probability, statistics, and geometry. The top team and top four individuals now have the opportunity to compete next month against St. Croix students. The top four individuals then move on to nationals at Walt Disney World's Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando in early May.
“This is one of the vehicles we can make a change with,” Ludence Romney, district mathematics coordinator said. “The real mission of Mathcounts is to promote interest and enthusiasm for math.”
Mathcounts is an annual competition that came to the territory in 1986. The common denominator is Welby Warner.
Warner taught mathematics on St. Thomas for over a decade before he got frustrated with the territory’s school system and quit.
“The motivation to excel is not built into the system,” Warner said. “If you can get by without excelling, then why are you going to excel?”
Warner took a job with an insurance company that happened to be a founding sponsor of Mathcounts. When he learned more about it, he tried to bring it to St. Thomas. But at the state level the National Society of Professional Engineers runs the competition and there was no center for NSPE on the Virgin Islands. So he pitched the concept to the Rotary Club of St. Thomas II. They told him they would sponsor it if somebody takes responsibility for promoting it on island. 23 years later, his club is underwriting all the costs associated with the chapter competition and the event is encouraging students and growing every year.
“It helps get people more into math and science,” Ladd said. “It could really help us get through life.”
Ladd is on track to be the first student in the territory to ever go to Mathcounts nationals in all three years of his eligibility. He placed first individually and so did his team, which includes his sister, Taylor Ladd, who finished second. Taylor also won the district spelling bee last week.
The top four-member team and top four finishers will compete against St. Croix’s top scorers, who also held a district competition Thursday. All 16 students will compete on an individual basis for nationals, but the top two teams will square off to determine whose coach will represent the territory at nationals.
Mathcounts competitions consist of four parts: the Sprint, Target, Team and Countdown Rounds. The Sprint Round has 30 questions, and students have 40 minutes to complete them. The Target Round consists of eight questions, which are distributed to the students two at a time. Students have 6 minutes to complete each pair of problems. The Team Round has 10 problems for the team to work together within the 20-minute time limit. The Countdown Round is an oral round in which students compete head-to-head. In the Virgin Islands the Countdown Round is conducted unofficially, but it is an official part of the National Competition.
The top four individual winners received $250 savings accounts from Banco Popular.
For more information visit mathcounts.org
Winners moving on to state competition:
– 1st place – Jordan Ladd, 8th grade – Antilles School
– 2nd place – Taylor Ladd, 7th grade – Antilles School
– 3rd place – Shallum Alfred, 8th grade – Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School
– 4th place – Maddie Ruddell, 8th grade – VI Montessori
– 5th place – Addison Hackstaff, 7th grade – Antilles School
– 6th place – Jakesha Stapleton, 8th grade – Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School
– 7th place – William VanRensselaer, 8th grade – Antilles School
– 8th place – Zak Suid, 8th grade – Antilles School
Top three teams:
– 1st place – Antilles School – Coach, Michele Garcia
– 2nd place – Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School – Coach, Rupert Buchanan
– 3rd place – V.I. Montessori – Coach, Donovan Carroll

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Feb. 26, 2009 -- Nearly 100 sharpened minds and No. 2 pencils were put to the test Thursday morning in the Mathcounts Chapter Competition.
Some were focused on making it to states. Some to nationals. Others, like first-place winner Jordan Ladd – to Disney World.
Students from 14 St. Thomas and St. John schools were tested individually and as teams in algebra, probability, statistics, and geometry. The top team and top four individuals now have the opportunity to compete next month against St. Croix students. The top four individuals then move on to nationals at Walt Disney World's Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando in early May.
“This is one of the vehicles we can make a change with,” Ludence Romney, district mathematics coordinator said. “The real mission of Mathcounts is to promote interest and enthusiasm for math.”
Mathcounts is an annual competition that came to the territory in 1986. The common denominator is Welby Warner.
Warner taught mathematics on St. Thomas for over a decade before he got frustrated with the territory’s school system and quit.
“The motivation to excel is not built into the system,” Warner said. “If you can get by without excelling, then why are you going to excel?”
Warner took a job with an insurance company that happened to be a founding sponsor of Mathcounts. When he learned more about it, he tried to bring it to St. Thomas. But at the state level the National Society of Professional Engineers runs the competition and there was no center for NSPE on the Virgin Islands. So he pitched the concept to the Rotary Club of St. Thomas II. They told him they would sponsor it if somebody takes responsibility for promoting it on island. 23 years later, his club is underwriting all the costs associated with the chapter competition and the event is encouraging students and growing every year.
“It helps get people more into math and science,” Ladd said. “It could really help us get through life.”
Ladd is on track to be the first student in the territory to ever go to Mathcounts nationals in all three years of his eligibility. He placed first individually and so did his team, which includes his sister, Taylor Ladd, who finished second. Taylor also won the district spelling bee last week.
The top four-member team and top four finishers will compete against St. Croix’s top scorers, who also held a district competition Thursday. All 16 students will compete on an individual basis for nationals, but the top two teams will square off to determine whose coach will represent the territory at nationals.
Mathcounts competitions consist of four parts: the Sprint, Target, Team and Countdown Rounds. The Sprint Round has 30 questions, and students have 40 minutes to complete them. The Target Round consists of eight questions, which are distributed to the students two at a time. Students have 6 minutes to complete each pair of problems. The Team Round has 10 problems for the team to work together within the 20-minute time limit. The Countdown Round is an oral round in which students compete head-to-head. In the Virgin Islands the Countdown Round is conducted unofficially, but it is an official part of the National Competition.
The top four individual winners received $250 savings accounts from Banco Popular.
For more information visit mathcounts.org
Winners moving on to state competition:
- 1st place – Jordan Ladd, 8th grade – Antilles School
- 2nd place – Taylor Ladd, 7th grade – Antilles School
- 3rd place – Shallum Alfred, 8th grade – Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School
- 4th place – Maddie Ruddell, 8th grade – VI Montessori
- 5th place – Addison Hackstaff, 7th grade – Antilles School
- 6th place – Jakesha Stapleton, 8th grade - Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School
- 7th place – William VanRensselaer, 8th grade – Antilles School
- 8th place – Zak Suid, 8th grade – Antilles School
Top three teams:
- 1st place – Antilles School – Coach, Michele Garcia
- 2nd place – Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School – Coach, Rupert Buchanan
- 3rd place – V.I. Montessori – Coach, Donovan Carroll