The following is a press release from Dart:
Adapted for COVID times, the Minds Inspired Math Challenge brought together some of the brightest young brains in mathematics for a two-day Tournament of Champions. Students from six high schools competed as individuals and in school teams, with John Gray High School winning the junior team prize and Cayman International School taking home the trophy for the senior team.
With the majority of inter-school competitions put on hold this academic year due to COVID restrictions, the 2021 Math Challenge was rescheduled from last November to February of this year. For the event to take place and comply with COVID regulations, organisers introduced a qualifying round that was held in schools earlier this month allowing nearly 350 high school students to participate. Each school then selected two junior and two senior students to enter the Tournament of Champions held at Camana Bay on Thursday, 17 and Friday, 18 February.
Each taking titles for a second consecutive year, Jake Fagan from Cayman Prep & High School won the individual prize in the junior category and Michael Marzouca from St. Ignatius Catholic School was overall winner in the senior category.
“The past few months have been challenging for schools, so it was wonderful to see students from government and private schools gathered in friendly competition,” said Glenda McTaggart, senior manager for education programmes at Dart. “Inter-school events like these are key motivators for students and help improve learning outcomes.”
Dart launched the Math Challenge in 2013, initially for upper grade students and added a junior level due to popular demand from students and teachers. The event, which attracts more than 125 students in each category, is usually held at University College Cayman Islands and teams are mixed across schools. Due to COVID constraints, Layman Scott High School in Cayman Brac and Triple C School were unable to participate this year.
“The format worked well under COVID conditions, but we look forward to returning to UCCI in November for this year’s Math Challenge,” said McTaggart. “One of the benefits of hosting in person is the kids can see how many of their peers share their enjoyment of math. It’s also good for kids who are used to being top of their class to face a bigger challenge.”
In addition to testing their knowledge, the Math Challenge exposes students to potential careers in mathematics. This year’s Math Challenge quizmaster was Dart financial analyst Jackie Henshilwood whose graduate degree in mathematics is essential for the numerical modelling she does for her job. The CFA (Chartered Financial Analysts) Society Cayman Islands also shared career advice with the senior teams, and engineering graduate Paul Henry, Dart’s manager of business innovations, set an engineering challenge about cranes for the juniors.
Mathematics is the foundation for multiple careers that require critical thinking and logic. Minds Inspired aims to attract Cayman’s young people to STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – by creating an engaging, annual programme of events.
“The Math Challenge makes mathematics fun, the kids look forward to it every year,” said Aine Carroll, acting head of mathematics at Cayman Prep & High School. “It’s also lets them see math isn’t just for the classroom.”
The 2022 Math Challenge will be held on 17 and 18 November 2022 at University College of Cayman Islands.
Full results for the Minds Inspired Math Challenge Tournament of Champions are as follows:
1 Jake Fagan, Cayman Prep & High School
2 Danny Kish, Cayman Prep & High School
3 (tie) Ikenna Eleweanya, John Gray High School
3 (tie) Wilmer Gonzalez-Challenger, Clifton Hunter High School
1 John Gray High School (Ikenna Eleweanya and Isaiah Myles)
2 Cayman Prep & High School (Jake Fagan and Danny Kish)
3 Clifton Hunter (Wilmer Gonzalez-Challenger and Clive Eden)
1 Michael Marzouca, St Ignatius Catholic School
2 (tie) Graeme Madison, Cayman Prep & High School
2 (tie) Arjun Dhanasekar, St Ignatius
1 Cayman International School (Lioc Magnan and Josh Cowell)
2 Cayman Prep & High School (Graeme Madison and Lucas Carter)
3 St Ignatius Catholic School (Michael Marzouca and Arjun Dhanasekar)