Middle school math team student reaches mark among world’s best
January 28, 2014
Steamboat Springs — Twice each week, a small cohort of Steamboat Springs Middle School students files through the campus's doors and heads to a room to do math.
The students are in the building by 7:30 a.m., and then a good 30 to 45 minutes later, the rest of the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders file in to start their school day.
The middle school math team has been doing its early-morning routine since mid-October, about a month before the team members took the American Mathematics Contest 8 test. They even dedicated a few Friday mornings to prepare for the exam.
On Monday morning, their scores were announced during a small awards ceremony in the middle school media room. Seventh-graders Alexa Paoli and Madison Truong placed third among the group. Mac Moody and Charles Welch placed second, alongside eighth-grader Amber Elliott.
Then there was Cedar Turek's first-place score.
The AMC 8 is a 40-minute timed test with 25 questions that get progressively more difficult as the test wears on. Most of the group scored an 11 or 12 — a respectable score, given the nature of the exam.
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Cedar, on the other hand, scored a 22 out of 25, earning him a spot on the AMC 8 distinguished honor roll and bragging rights among the top 1 percent of all students across the world who took it.
"We had him up here teaching us the problems," team coach Sally Lambert said about Cedar.
The middle school hasn't offered the AMC 8 test since 2010, and Lambert said she hopes to expand it into the high school with the AMC 10 and 12. This year's test fees were funded by donations from Civil Design Consultants.
And had that test been offered, math team coach Corrine Moody said, Cedar would have been qualified to tackle that, too.
"I can do the problems with my math background," Moody said. "But Cedar can come up and be like, 'Here's the shortcut.'"
But Cedar and the middle schoolers aren't the only ones in town competing. A team at Soda Creek Elementary School is taking on the AMC 8 and Math Olympiad, as well.
The AMC 8 tests students at a slightly more advanced level than most eighth-grade math tests. Its challenge is based on problem solving. And as things get more difficult on the exam, the test takers have to beat the clock and use those shortcuts Cedar seems to have a sure grasp of.
"Needless to say, we are very proud of all of our students who meet twice a week to learn problem solving before their school day begins and those who signed up to take this very challenging exam," Lambert said.