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March 14, 2017

(L-R): Noerine Gray, Julia Kolt, Natalia Sanchez, and Brennen Reilly

Veterans Memorial Middle School’s math team won top honors in the recent Division I, Griffin RESA 2017 Regional Middle School Math Contest.  All Newton County School System (NCSS) middle and high schools participated in the event. NCSS’ teams competed against schools from Butts, Fayette, Henry, Lamar, Pike, Spalding, and Upson counties.  

The math contest includes a one hour written test followed by a group-ciphering event. According to Dr. Stephanie Gordy, Executive Director for Griffin RESA, awards for the top three teams in each division are based on a total team score comprised of the top four highest scores on the written test and the team score on the ciphering event. Competitive divisions are determined by school enrollment.

“This year approximately 150 students participated from almost 30 middle schools representing the school districts from our area,” added Dr. Gordy.

Veterans Memorial Middle School’s team, coached by Mr. Donald Helm, included eighth-graders, Brennen Reilly, Julia Kolt, Noerine Gray, and Natalia Sanchez.

“The students volunteered for the team,” said Helm. “I started with a suggestion to Brennen that this might be something that he would enjoy and he ran with it.”

According to Helm, the prep work for the contest took place mostly in the classroom.

“All the students who chose to be on the math team have very hectic schedules so we did not practice in your traditional sense,” he explained. “We relied on a rigorous classroom environment to get the students ready for the competition. I did make sure that during our group assignments in class these four students worked together to get ready for the ciphering event.”

Helm added, “I cannot begin to express how proud I am of these students. They have taken the initiative on their own to challenge themselves in the field of mathematics and as an educator I couldn’t ask for more.”

 “I am extremely proud of my students for their first place win,” said Dr. Takila Curry, principal of Veterans Memorial Middle School. “The students never cease to amaze me with their talents.  I'm fortunate to have such awesome students with so much drive and determination to be successful.”