Neophytes shine in 2014 Metrobank Math Challenge
“This, therefore, is mathematics: She reminds you of the invisible forms of the soul; she gives life to her own discoveries; she awakens the mind and purifies the intellect; she brings to light our intrinsic ideas; she abolishes oblivion and ignorance, which are ours by birth.”
Metrobank Foundation president Aniceto Sobrepeña quoted Greek philosopher Procius in his address during the recent finals of the 2014 Metrobank Math Challenge, which was held in cooperation with Math Teachers Association of the Philippines (MTAP) and the Department of Education.
For months, more than half a million students across the nation battled through several rounds of individual and team competitions. Only 51 students advanced from the regionals to the finals.
In the individual category, students solved problems on their own for two hours using pen and paper. For the team category, groups from different schools answered questions within the time allotted—from 15 seconds to one minute.
This year’s national finalists came from 30 schools—15 public and 15 private schools. Out of the 30, 10 were first-time qualifiers: Lagro High School (Quezon City), Ateneo de Manila Grade School (Quezon City), British School Manila (Taguig City), Small World Christian School Foundation (Baguio City), Saint Louis College (San Fernando City, La Union province), Dasmariñas National High School (Dasmariñas City, Cavite province), Greenpark Montessori Learning Center (Cainta town, Rizal province), Cajidiocan Central Elementary School (Cajidiocan town, Romblon province), Bulan National High School (Bulan town, Sorsogon province) and Hua Siong College of Iloilo (Iloilo City).
For first-timers, Ateneo, Greenpark Montessori, Small World, British School and Dasmariñas National did extremely well, garnering honors in the finals.
In the Grade 6 individual category, Stefan Marcus Ong of St. Jude Catholic School (Manila), Patrick Niño Policarpio of Greenpark Montessori and Marjana Ysabella Montañez of Hen. Pio del Pilar Elementary School (Makati City) were first, second and third, respectively.
Ateneo’s Dion Stephan Ong and Jermil Andrei Gelbolingo topped the team category, followed by Gabriel Soriano and Andrhea Angelina Therese San Gabriel of Small World and Doun Lee and Jedric Ivor Zafra of Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu (Mandaue City), who were second and third, respectively.
In the fourth-year individual category, Harvey Eaton Ong Uy of British School, Ethan Riley Chan of Zamboanga Chong Hua High School (Zamboanga City) and John Mark Guimba of Dasmariñas National were first, second and third, respectively.
Jonn Angel Aranas and John Morris Fabros of Makati Science High School (Makati City) were first in the team category, followed by Mark Benjar Bartolome and Philip Jhurell Pati of Philippine Science High School-CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region, Baguio City), and Mikhael Glen Lataza and Syrum Joseph Quinto of Science and Technology Education Center (Lapu-Lapu City).
The Math Challenge is now in its 13th year. This year, for the first time in contest history, contestants used tablet computers, rather than pen and paper, to input their answers, making scoring and judging more efficient.
Questionnaires were also posted on the Math Challenge Facebook page so that students could monitor the proceedings online.
Ateneo de Manila University math professor Ian June Garces, a consultant of the Math Challenge, came up with the idea of using tablets for the finals. A past Math Challenge winner, Gary Villame (son of MTAP vice president Rechilda Villame), has created a technology company called Itemhound with his friends. They developed the software and provided the tablets for free.
Other past winners had also begun to “pay it forward,” in Sobrepeña’s words, when Metrobank Foundation began Operation Mathew (after the competition’s mascot) late last year.
“One winner donated school supplies and tutored at least 50 low-performing students in math in a public school in Manila,” Sobrepeña said. “The results showed that students have learned to love the subject and have gained more self-confidence in the way they tackle challenges in their lessons and life in general.”
(E-mail the author at [email protected])
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