Good Hope Country Day team wins 1st place

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ST. CROIX - More than 40 of St. Croix's top math students went head-to-head Thursday, quickly solving equations and word problems during a competition that lasted well into the afternoon,.

At the end of the competition, Good Hope Country Day School had crunched numbers the best and was named the district MathCounts competition team winners.

Mathletes from five public, private and parochial schools were in the competition held at Good Hope Country Day School's pavilion, and in four separate timed rounds that featured adding multiplications and division of all sorts and math problems of varying complexity.

Good Hope Country Day School team - Jared Hodge, Rose Kleeger, Julian Bishop and Caroline Flavia - along with the other six top student finishers, will represent the district in the state competition on March 26 on St. Croix.

Mathletes in the St. Croix district hailed from Elena Christian Junior High, Ricardo Richards Elementary, Good Hope Country Day, John H. Woodson Junior High and Church of God Holiness Academy.

The overall individual winner for the competition was Ali Boucenna, a 13-year-old student at Church of God Holiness Academy. He said this was his second year in the competition and he did his best going in.

"We had been working on math problems four days a week getting ready for the competition, so it was not anything new," he said.

Ali said he tried to stay focused and apply his skills during the competition.

"I plan to keep practicing and do as well in the next competition," he said.

Good Hope Country Day MathCounts coach Cesar Guerra said during the competition, he sat back and watched his students do their best, knowing that they had worked hard and prepared well.

"This was just like watching them take a test," he said. "Once they've prepared well, they really just have to show what they know."

He said as they move toward the territorial competition next month, they will continue to do the math drills and practice problems to sharpen their skills and hope that their hard work will pay off once again.

The first round, the Sprint Round, featured 30 problems distributed to individual competitors. The 40-minute round tested accuracy, and calculators are not permitted.

The second individual round, the Target Round, included eight multiple-step problems, given in four pairs, that require mathematical reasoning and problem-solving skills. Competitors had six minutes to solve each pair of problems, and calculators were permitted.

The Team Round lasted 20 minutes and consisted of 10 problems that team members worked on together. During that round, the students were seen working quietly for a while, then huddling to compare answers and decide on which answers were right.

The scores from the first two individual rounds determine students' individual standings and the top 10 competed in the Countdown Round where they had 45 seconds to come up with the correct answer without using a calculator in elimination rounds.

Competition organizer Cheryl Willocks said MathCounts helps students stay focused, and it is hoped that students will continue developing their skills and move toward careers in the math, science and engineering areas.

This year the district is celebrating its 28th year of conducting MathCounts and it is the 31st anniversary of the national competition.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email

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