Photo courtesy of M.S. 158
From left: Mikayla Lin, John Gupta-She, Mark Park, Emma Sudo, Lawrence Joa

A group of Bayside middle-schoolers flexed their skills and won first place at a statewide math competition last week.

Seventh-grader Mikayla Lin and eighth-graders John Gupta-She, Mark Park, Emma Sudo and Lawrence Joa from M.S. 158 Marie Curie competed in and won in the 2019 “Tournament of Champions” on Wednesday, May 15, at the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath).

The competition, which was sponsored by Con Edison, was the final installment in a statewide series of “MoMathlon” math tournaments. The winning teams from each of the competitions faced off for the championship title in New York state.

According to their moderator and M.S. 158 math teacher Freddy Sampson, the group competed against other qualifying middle-schoolers from New York state. The Tournament of Champions consisted of four rounds: an individual round, a “mix up round,” where students had to work with members from other teams, a team round and a relay round.

Sampson recruited some of the best performing math students to be part of the team and got them together on Fridays to train for this and seven other math competitions throughout the school year.

“We are very proud and excited for our students. Most of them are eighth-graders, so we’re sad to see them go,” said Sampson.

The team of students qualified for this competition back in March when they placed first in the Queens and Brooklyn tournament in March. Lin also won first place in the sixth- and seventh-grade competition, while Gupta-She earned a third place spot in the eighth-grade competition.

Some of the other math competitions in which M.S. 158 students have participated include the MATHCOUNTS Competition, PI5NY and MATHCON.

Sampson said that these types of competitions are beneficial for students to be exposed to math in “fun and exciting ways” that they may not encounter in the classroom. He added that students tend to continue competing at the high school level, while others pursue math-adjacent interests like robotics.

“It’s the same level of questions that they see on the SAT. One student scored a 700 [in the math portion] in sixth grade,” said Sampson.

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