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International Success Attained Again for Senior Math Club

St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) students found success again in the fall round of the international math competition, Mathematics Without Borders.

Five SMCS Senior Math Club students received medals for their top scores in the recent competition that saw students from 29 countries, including Australia, Bulgaria, Hong Kong, Nigeria, the Philippines, the United States, and many more.

“It is one of the few international competitions available and allows us to compete against students from all over the world,” says Dr. Peter Zavodny ’97, math teacher and moderator of the Senior Math Club. “Mathematics Without Borders is a sub-organization of a much larger group that encourages the exchange of ideas, concepts, and innovations in mathematics within the global mathematics community.”

SMCS Senior Math Club students and their Mathematics Without Borders medals.

SMCS congratulates all the participants for their efforts in the fall round, including silver medalist Chanoh Song, Grade 9, and bronze medalists Shiyu Zhang, Grade 11, Haowen Zhang, Grade 9, Max Li, Grade 8, and Benjamin Gorman, Grade 8.

“We have two more Math Without Borders contests, and for the students who medal in two of the three rounds, we will be looking to take a small team to compete in pairs or individually at the finals in Nessebar, Bulgaria, at the end of June 2024,” adds Zavodny.

The first three rounds of the Mathematics Without Borders tournament occur remotely in each student’s school. SMCS students participated in the first round on October 26, 2023, in the Campeau Lecture Hall. The second and third rounds will take place in February and April 2024.

“We started in this competition when I was looking at increasing our participation and exchange with mathematics beyond North America,” says Zavodny. “Mathematics continues to be a discipline where critical thinking both conceptually in the abstract and practically in the applications of concepts provides opportunities to refine thought and elevate our students’ abilities to express their ideas.”

SMCS also sees students regularly participate in the Waterloo Math and Computing contests, the American Mathematical and Computing (AMC) contests, and the Canadian Math League monthly challenges.

“It a pleasure for me to watch our students applying themselves and showcasing their abilities while learning from these contests,” says Zavodny.

SMCS students writing the fall Mathematics Without Borders contest.

In addition to these math contests, the Math Department provides students with many opportunities to develop and improve their math skills outside the classroom.

“We offer enriched programming in Grade 12, including the Advanced Placement (AP) course in calculus, summer programming through a pre-AP mini-course, and a pre-senior math mini-course (for students transitioning from Grade 10 to Grade 11),” says Zavodny. “All Math Department teachers also provide additional help and office hours to help students with their regular curriculum.”

The mini summer courses for students heading into Grade 12 are facilitated through the SMCS Summer Camps programming.

Check out five fast facts about SMCS’ successful history with the Mathematics Without Borders tournament:

  1. This year (2023-24) will be the third year SMCS has participated in Mathematics Without Borders.
  2. SMCS is the only Canadian school participating.
  3. The very first contest saw more than 20 students participate throughout Grades 7-12.
  4. This year will be the first time SMCS is looking to bring students to the final round in Bulgaria.
  5. Chanoh Song and Haowen Zhang are the most decorated participants, having medaled in each competition they’ve participated in since they began competing two years ago.

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