MEMS wins regional math title

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MANCHESTER — No matter how you figure, it all adds up to a win for Manchester Elementary Middle School math students.

Math students at MEMS captured the school's first math title at the Southwest Region MATHCOUNTS competition at Castleton University.

The team advances to the state competition March 14 at Vermont Technical College.

"We've been competing in this math contest for a long time,"said MEMS math instructor and team coach Scott Diedrich,. "We've never finished first. The team is enjoying this victory, but it's time to start practicing for the statewide competition."

Manchester's winning 2020 line-up included three girls and one boy. Eighth-graders Sydney Kulis, Siobhan O'Keefe, Josie Powers and Isaac Vernon captured the title this year and is the same crew had finished fourth in last year's regional competition.

They were aiming for a top three finish at least this year, but there was a moment, after the answers were handed in, when prospects looked dim.

"They started by announcing the third and second place teams and our name had not been called," Kulis said. "We knew that the team with the individual winner was still not mentioned, so we assumed we were finished. When they finally announced that Manchester won, it was one of the best moments of my life!"

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The four team members shared their memories of that moment a few days later at their bi-weekly practice session with coach Diedrich.

"The key to our success was collaboration and communication," O'Keefe said. "All four of us play soccer and we know the importance of teamwork. We noticed that while the other teams were quiet, we were talking and working together in search of answers."

What's so fun about math?

Powers spoke up for the group.

"Nothing's vague about math," Powers said. "The answer is either right or wrong."

Now, MEMS Math Fab Four is preparing for the state competition. They will be one of 16 teams from throughout the state. The three top teams from the four regions all qualify plus four other schools brought in at-large.

"The state championship will be on March 14th," said team member Vernon. "Pi Day. How cool is that!"


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