On November 15, eight North Shore Country Day Middle School students participated in their very first math competition and came home with a championship trophy. The team finished first overall at a Math League regional qualifying meet hosted by Pope John XXIII School in Evanston.
In addition to the team win, four students — eighth-graders Jeet Kothari of Chicago, Toby Nelson of Glencoe and David Szymanski of Wilmette, and seventh-grader Lucy Skinner of Northbrook — qualified to compete at the national level in Silicon Valley in April.
The math team is one of two new extracurricular math initiatives at the school this year, organized by middle school mathematics teacher Graham Rosby. The other is Math Circles that meets after school five times a year and is open to students of all levels. So far, the attendees have been sixth- through eighth-graders who are taking everything from beginning math to advanced algebra, but upper and lower school students are welcome to attend as well. While the math team focuses on strategy and speed, students who come to the math circles explore one problem recreationally, and so far, Rosby says participants have been pleasantly surprised by how much fun math can be.
Rosby has been involved in math teams in some capacity — either as a competitor or as a coach — for more than 15 years, so this was something very near and dear to his heart, he said. He also writes contest math problems, although he is not affiliated as a writer with Math League.
“With the math circles and the math team, we’re trying to emphasize that really rigorous, interesting, challenging math is for everyone,” Rosby explained. “And with coaching, you can get better at this type of math. I'm incredibly proud of these students for what they've done.”
North Shore Country Day School is a junior kindergarten through 12th grade, college-preparatory school founded in Winnetka, Illinois in 1919. With rigorous academic pursuit as the cornerstone, North Shore provides many opportunities for all students to excel – in the classroom and the laboratory, on the stage and the playing field, in their communities and beyond.