Cam High Middle School Math Competition


Victor Dominguez

Students during the individual round of Math Club’s junior math competition.

Victor Dominguez, Managing Editor

Thirty-two excited middle-school students from Monte Vista MS, Las Colinas MS, CAPE (Camarillo Academy of Progressive Education), Los Primeros School of Sciences and Arts, and Santa Rosa Technology Magnet gathered in two math classrooms at Cam High to participate in a puzzle math competition hosted by Cam High’s Math Club on Saturday, December 4th.

Students participated in a variety of activities, including an individual exam and a team round with buzzers. Throughout the event, the students expressed their excitement and thrill to be there, commenting on how they “finally” had an opportunity to use math concepts they learned from their teachers in their respective middle schools. The first place winner of the competition, seventh grade Arth, stated, “Why not [participate in the math competition]? I love math and this was a great opportunity to face a challenge in solving fun math problems.” From solving for the speed of a planet orbiting a star, to using probability to predict future events, students were required to use ingenious and clever solutions to win the competition. Without the careful attention of not just the members of the Math Club, but also the advisors of the Math Club, Brandae Rossini and Allan Sadowsky, the competition could not have been possible.

The event was planned over the course of nearly three weeks, with the co-presidents, Sai Rithvik Kotla and Eyouel Abate, and the vice president, Victor Dominguez, creating over 100 puzzle math problems for the students to solve. Countless hours were put not only into creating these questions, but also planning how the competition would operate, with the organizers eventually settling on an individual round (essentially a 15 question free response exam) and a tournament-style team round. “We were kind of last minute planning, like finalizing some questions, the plan, the order, and [accounting] for people who were not coming,” said Abate. “When we actually started and we were slightly behind schedule, I was afraid, [thinking] ‘Oh we might have to leave early, we might have to cancel something,’ but it actually turned out really alright.”

Although the exam might have been too difficult, admits Kotla, the competitors still performed exceptionally well, with some even solving a probability problem that was considered especially difficult by the organizers. “[I think] we made the test a little to hard, but I think the kids enjoyed it overall; I could see the smiles on their faces,” stated Kotla. Teams were organized roughly based on grade level to ensure that the competition was fair and were each given a Chromebook to log onto an online Quizizz game. Based on their performance in this game, the teams were sorted into separate brackets based on their rank. After about 5 buzzer rounds in each classroom, the four best placing teams joined each other in the same classroom and faced off for first and second place, and third and fourth place respectively. “I could see them having fun and especially the buzzer and quizzes round because they got to discuss and interact with each other, like with people they never met before. They adapted really well,” said Kotla. Between rounds, students were able to take short breaks to reflect on their performance and talk with their friends about how well they did. “I felt great, and was fueled to continue to improve and learn in math,” stated Arth.

Cam High’s Math Club and its organizers are currently working on using what they learned from this competition to plan and organize other academic competitions. “We’re trying to build upon math club because last year we went from purely online from little members with little participation to doubling, tripling our size, quadrupling the number of people that came to the competition; we’re trying to grow as big as we can,” said Abate. In 2022, the same organizers of the junior high math competition have plans to host another competition for elementary schoolers and then high schoolers. “We’re still a small club, but we’re able to do so much. I think it really shows you that if you have the heart, you can do whatever you want. We may be only a team of 10 people at most, but we were able to do a lot more than a lot of other people can do, ” concluded Kotla.

Everyone that made the event possible:

Students: Juniors Sai Rithivk Kotla, Eyouel Abate, Victor Dominguez, Joey DiMarco and Kaitlyn Sadowsky

Teachers/Advisors: Math teachers Brandae Rossini and Allan Sadowsky