Steamboat Springs While I’ll cheer for Peyton and the Broncos on Sunday, and I can’t wait to watch our Winter Olympians perform in Russia, my hero this week is Steamboat Springs Middle School student Cedar Turek.
Rob Douglas' column appears Fridays in the Steamboat Today. He can be reached at rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com.
Find more columns by Douglas here.
As reported by the Steamboat Today, Cedar scored a 22 out of a possible 25 on the American Mathematics Contest 8. That means Cedar scored in the top 1 percent of all middle school students who competed in the test last November.
The top 1 percent!
According to the Mathematical Association of America, the “AMC 8 is a 25 question, 40 minute multiple choice examination in middle school mathematics designed to promote the development and enhancement of problem solving skills.”
Further, the test “provides an opportunity to apply the concepts taught at the junior high level to problems which not only range from easy to difficult but also cover a wide range of applications. Many problems are designed to challenge students and to offer problem solving experiences beyond those provided in most junior high school mathematics classes.”
How good is Cedar at solving math problems?
“We had him up here teaching us the problems,” math team coach Sally Lambert told the Steamboat Today. Another coach, Corrine Moody, said “I can do the problems with my math background. But Cedar can come up and be like, ‘Here’s the shortcut.’”
When I read about Cedar and the other team members who dedicated themselves to preparing for the competition, I recalled an earlier account in the Steamboat Today of Cedar’s excellence — musical excellence.
In April 2012, Cedar was featured in, “Hard work pays off for young Steamboat violinist.” Then 10-year-old Cedar had just returned from performing a violin recital in New York City after earning honorable mention in the 2012 American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition.
Addressing the fact that he practiced 45 minutes a day, obviously smart and talented Cedar shared the true secret of his success — perseverance. “Some days, I don’t want to practice, but I think I should because it will help me later in life,” he said. “Working hard pays off.”
Two years later, Cedar continues to demonstrate that hard work pays off.
Twice each week, at an hour when most of us are still sipping coffee and reading stories in the Steamboat Today about neuroscientists attending a conference in Steamboat visiting local schools, or astronaut Steve Swanson — a graduate of Steamboat Springs High School — preparing to launch into space for the third time, Cedar and his teammates are already at school expanding their minds in ways that may assist them in becoming the neuroscientists and astronauts of their generation.
In a town that may have more athletic role models per capita than any other town in America, Cedar and the other dedicated members of the math team are equally inspirational and admirable.
Time will tell what academic and professional heights Cedar and his industrious teammates attain. The path from hardworking student to accomplished professional is long and requires a dash of luck along with dedicated parents, teachers and a community, like Steamboat, that values education.
In the meantime, it’s wonderful to see that Cedar already understands that Albert Einstein was correct when he said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
To reach Rob Douglas, email rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com