Math Competition Is Coming Up

The annual Dimond math competition will be held this year on Valentine’s Day,

Todd Stark a Dimond Mathematics teacher who helped create the competition said that it is held in, “February, around Valentine’s day” and that “I think it’s our eleventh or twelfth year”.

Yet many do not know the origins of this auspicious Dimond competition, and for how long it has been running.

Joshua Hall, a Dimond Calculus teacher said, “I think that it’s nine years.”

Hall elaborated, and said, “Really it was Mr. Stark’s sort of brainchild from the beginning, and he had the idea to do it and how to do it, and so he came to me and we just sort of invented it together, and it’s evolved in how it works over the years. We kind of refined and changed parts of it to make it work better for students and make it a more compact event.

“We can get it done in less time, but still make it really fun and exciting.”

Stark elaborated more on the origins of the tournament, and said, “Mr. Hall asked many years ago, 11 or so years ago, if anybody wanted to or was interested in doing a math competition. And I had done math competitions previously at Mears and at a middle school at Shaker Heights in Cleveland, Ohio, and we got together and came up with this math competition.

“It was Mr. Hall that was the impetus for getting this started.”

While the competition is open to students of all ages and mathematic levels, the are some restrictions in the tournament.

Stark said, “Everybody is welcome to participate, though we kind of max out every year between 160 and 180 students. We really can’t take more than that.”

This high number can be explained in some part by how Stark and Hall run the math competition.

Hall said, “We do generally get a lot of people. I think it is a combination of, we keep the required math level relatively low, like geometry, and so it’s accessible to a broad range of students in the school.

“You don’t have to be a calculus student or something like that to be in their, you can still enjoy the competition and still have a fair chance of winning. And so it appeals to a broad ability level, and we try to keep it fun.”

The ways that Hall keeps the event interesting are numerous, and quite effective.

Hall said, “We give away lots of door prizes, we keep things moving along at a relatively quick pace, it doesn’t require you to miss all day of school, it’s not a huge commitment”.

Stark agreed with Hall, and said, “I think it is popular, because as I mentioned earlier we max out at with between 160 and 180 students every year, and we’ve designed the competition so it’s fun. It’s just not the brightest math students that are participating.

“It’s all math students that are participating, and we have lots of awards and prizes to hand for everybody of all abilities.”

The structure of the competition is simple, and easy to sign up for and participate in.

Stark said, “There are three parts to the competition. Well first of all, you need to be on a team of four, four individuals make a team.

“And then the first part of the competition during first period is when all the students in the competition participate in the individual round, where everybody has 30 minutes to answer as many questions as they can and then all the individual scores are combined together for the team.

However, there is one big difference between the individual round and parts of the tournament that come later.

Stark said, “You do not work as a team during the individual round, but the scores are combined for a team score.

The second half of the tournament, while different in form and how teams work together, does not change in a large amount from the rounds in the morning.

Hall said, “The math level still stays the same, so you’re not going to be required to have any knowledge beyond geometry. But the big shift is that its a head-to-head competition, and it’s whoever gets the answer quickest, it’s not just written out on paper.

“In the morning it’s all paper writing, and in the afternoon its face to face, head to head, and it happens very quick.”

Another big draw, especially for younger Dimond students, is the smaller competition between freshman-only teams, with a rewards for whichever freshman team does best.

Hall said, “We always really encourage freshmen, because we want to get them involved early, and that’s why we have a special top freshman team that wins every time.

“Those four students get a graphing calculator, which is something their going to use  throughout their high school career.”

In fact, the four freshmen who won their individual competition are still at Dimond.

Anthony Van Couwenberghe [check name], a Dimond sophomore who was part of the winning team said, “Me and Harlie Lewallen, Owen Merrill, and Seamus Rogaski [won].”

Van Couwenberghe added, “It felt good. I got a brand new TI84+ [calculator].

“It was still in the package, and I also got a medal,” which happened to have a very interesting design etched on to it.

Van Couwenberghe said, “It had a laser printed design in to it. It was like a pi with a Fibonacci circle, it said we were the freshman winners.”

One of Van Couwenberghe’s teammates was also able to talk about the intricacies of winning the math tournament.

Seamus Rogaski, a Dimond Sophomore said, “It was actually pretty fun because you got to stand up in front of everyone.”

However, Rogowski literally took his eye off the prize.

Rogowski said, “We were the only freshman team to make it to the finals, so we automatically won the freshman category which give us a few graphing calculators. I was the only one to lose mine.”

Whether you are a true mathlete, looking for a bit of fun with friends, or just looking for a deal on some calculators, the Dimond math competition may be for you.