Comox Valley students test their math skills in contest at NIC

NIC faculty member Alex Blair (left) with the top math contest students Jiho Seo, Dario Torres Pastor, Frederic Wehrstedt, Danielle Bae, Seamus Kirk and Huck Bignell.

North Island College played host again for the British Columbia Secondary School Math Contest local finals.

The event at the Comox Valley campus was part of series that took place May 3 at nine post-secondary institutions across B.C.

The preliminary round happened in March when students took tests at their own schools, with the top ones moving on to the final round. The contest is broken into junior categories for students in Grade 8–10 and senior for students in Grade 11–12.

“It’s nice to see these students interested in math and test their skills,” said Alex Blair, NIC instructor and local contest organizer.

The contest winners for the Seniors (all grade 11) were:

  • First – Frederic Wehrstedt (Highland Secondary)
  • Second – Dario Torres Pastor (Mark R. Isfeld Secondary)
  • Third – Danielle Bae (Mark R. Isfeld Secondary)

For the Juniors, the winners (all grade 10) were:

  • First – Jiho Seo (Georges P. Vanier Secondary)
  • Second – Seamus Kirk (Georges P. Vanier Secondary)
  • Third – Huck Bignell (Georges P. Vanier Secondary)

In all, 46 junior and 25 senior students took part in the preliminary round. For the finals, eight juniors and 11 seniors competed at the NIC event.

The preliminary round consisted of multiple-choice questions, while the final round was divided between multiple-choice questions and questions requiring long-form answers.

“They have to explain in detail how they got the answer,” said Blair.

For NIC, the event, she added, is a good opportunity to reach out to local students and bring them to see the Comox Valley campus and support their interest in mathematics. 

“The students are usually pretty happy to be able to show off their skills,” Blair said.

To promote the event, NIC works with local secondary school teachers, though this year the competition also attracted some home-schooled students for the first time.

Blair also credits the support from the math teachers for the enthusiastic response from students.

“It wouldn’t work without them, being willing to take the students to the event,” she said.

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