2017 | Schools

School Notes: Silver Spring High Schoolers Put Math Smarts to the Test as National Finalists

Plus: Petition drive takes aim at sugary school food; local high schooler wins election as student councils president

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A team of five juniors and seniors at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring have earned a spot in the finals of a national math challenge and will travel to New York City to compete.

The Moody’s Mega Math Challenge pits more than 5,100 high schoolers from across the country against one another. The students—James Vinson, Eshan Tewari, Siddharth Taneja, Andrew Komo and Annie Zhao—in February were tasked with using mathematical modeling to develop a sustainability plan for the U.S. National Park Service. More than 1,100 teams turned in papers with the plans they’d developed during the 14-hour challenge. 

“Even though I’ve known all five of the students on my team since they were in the 9th grade and personally taught them math in multiple years, I didn’t realize what they were truly capable of until I read their paper,” Montgomery Blair math teacher William Rose said in a press release. “I can’t imagine what they could accomplish if we gave them a week or a month to come up with a solution, instead of just 14 hours.”

The team from Montgomery Blair will face off against five other finalist teams April 24 at Moody’s Corp. World Trade Center Headquarters, according to a press release.

About 90 scholarship prizes adding up to $150,000 are available. The winning team gets a $20,000 scholarship prize, according to the release.

School food advocates petition MCPS to cut sugar in student lunches

Real Food for Kids—Montgomery is gathering signatures in an effort to convince county education officials to reduce the amount of sugar in school meals.

The online petition asks Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith to make sure sugar accounts for no more than 10 percent of the calorie content for school food. Petitioners also want to remove soda and other sugary beverages from school vending machines starting in the 2017-2018 academic year. The group points out that eating foods high in sugar can contribute to childhood obesity and diabetes. 

The petition on the Action Network, a site for online organizers, had more than 1,000 signatures by Friday morning.

Rockville student will lead state student councils association

A Richard Montgomery High School student has won election as president of the Maryland Association of Student Councils.

The vote clinched by Grace Wu took place at the organization’s convention, which ran from Wednesday through Friday in Ocean City. The elected officers serve one-year terms.