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Glancer Magazine

EDUCATION | 4th-12th graders from Illinois excel at MathCON 2024 Finals

4th-12th graders from Illinois excel at MathCON 2024 Finals
Mathemagician Arthur Benjamin wows a packed audience at McCormick Place on May 11. (PRNewsfoto/MathCON)

Congratulations to these Local Area Students

CHICAGO–When Prof. Po-Shen Loh took the stage in front of thousands of people at the 2024 MathCON Finals, he saw an eager group, fittingly, looking for answers.

Loh fielded a question from the audience asking what parents can do to get their children more interested in math. Unlike the hundreds of equations students solved throughout the day, his solution wasn't complicated.

"You have to find (events) like this."

4th-12th graders from Illinois excel at MathCON 2024 Finals

Loh's sentiment encapsulates MathCON's vision perfectly––as the organization aims to get students across North America out of the classroom and interacting with the wonders of math. On a day full of competition, relationship building and appreciation for problem solving, the organization was elated to host more than 2,500 people at today's event.

"MathCON provides students with a unique platform to showcase their mathematical abilities, fostering confidence and a sense of achievement," MathCON's program director Nik Hallberg said. "It encourages critical thinking, problem solving and creativity, all of which are essential for personal growth. One of the best parts of MathCON is that anyone who participates gets to connect with like-minded peers and mentors that further enrich their journey.

"I thought our team did a great job of providing that today."

The MathCON Finals, which has hosted over 400,000 students from 3,000 schools since its inception in 2008, had 34,000 students sign up for the online qualifying round for the event earlier this spring. The top 645 students with the highest scores made their way to Chicago for the final test to compete against their peers. Even on a day where math is celebrated regardless of the results, the student with the highest score from each grade level took home a cash prize of $300 along with a plaque in their honor.

Naperville Central High School's Audrey Cheng had the highest score (300) among all participants. Cheng (10th grade), her classmate Andrew Bukowski (11th grade), Whitney M Young Magnet High School's Joshua Liu (12th grade) and Spring Brook Elementary School's Joel Sun (5th grade) all came out on top in their respective grade levels.

In the Illinois group, students from Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, British International School of Chicago - South Loop, Clifford Crone Middle School, Decatur Classical School, Deerfield High School, Dunlap Middle School, Elgin Math and Science Academy, Falkner House School for Girls, Hawthorn Middle North, Hawthorn Middle School South, Horizon Science Academy - Belmont, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Kennedy Junior High School, Lane Tech Academic Center, Latin School of Chicago, Lemont High School, Lyons Township High School, Meadow Glens Elementary School, Naperville Central High School, Parkview Academy, Science Academy Of Chicago, Sunset Ridge School, The Avery Coonley School, Townline Elementary School, Waubonsie Valley High School, William Fremd High School, Woodland Middle School qualified for the MathCON Finals.

As MathCON continues to build its reputation as one of the most prestigious math competitions in the country, more families are seeing the value of investing time and money into sending their children to participate in the event no matter the distance.

"This is a great way for my son to get exposure outside of his community," one parent from Portland said. "MathCON does a great job of not only having students sit down and do math but also get (students) involved, working with each other and introducing them to other people too."

While most of the attention was on the final test, the energy in the building was elevated by the events around it. The Rubik's Cube competition was a hit amongst the group––as one student said he practiced two hours a day for a month in preparation for it. Parents put their math skills to the test during the Game-24 contest while others were mesmerized by mathemagician Arthur Benjamin's lightning-quick ability to solve math problems sent his way by the crowd.

Whether you're a math enthusiast or not, there is always something for everyone at MathCON.

"I can't wait to come back next year," a fourth grader from California said. "I met some cool people and I hope they come back too. Today was a lot of fun."

Interested in supporting next year's MathCON? Visit MathCON's website today to see how you can help more students across the country have access to this world-class event.