Nearly 60 Indianapolis Public Schools students took their
place in the spotlight during the 28th annual IPS Math Competition
Awards ceremony on May 23 inside Anderson Auditorium at Arsenal Technical High
Students in Grades 3–12, who scored in the Top 3 of the IPS
Math Competition, were recognized in front of their family, IPS administration,
as well as their principals and math teachers.
Placing in the competition is not easy, considering close
to 6,000 students competed this year — with several tying in various grade
levels and categories.
“I’m mildly surprised,” said Maggie H., a sixth-grader at Sidener
Academy for High Ability Students, who placed third with a score of 94 percent. “I
knew I had placed the highest in my class, but I think this is the highest
score I’ve ever gotten in the math competition.”
But it’s not the first time she has placed in the
competition. Since third grade, Maggie has been recognized for her scores.
“I enjoy math, but it also comes easy. Most people really
hate (math) because it’s hard for them, but one kind of plays into the other.
Whether or not it’s easy kind of effects whether or not you like it,” said the 12-year-old,
who admittedly was dressed more conservatively this year than during her first
win in third grade, when she donned lots of sparkles (including her nail
polish, shoes, skirt and shirt).
For many of the winners, there isn’t a strategy to preparing
for the competition, which is open for about a week after spring break and tests a range of
skills — based on grade level — from multiplication to algebra to calculus.
“There’s no real way that I prepare. Most of the time I don’t
remember what I’ve learned until I see it put in front of me,” said Maggie. “This
year was really easy for me. … This year was more decimals and algebra, which I
like. Decimals are my favorite thing to do in math.”
According to Peggy Boulden-Fields, district mathematics
coach for Grades 7-12, she and the other employees in the math department try
to make the ceremony both fun and serious.
“It’s a serious (competition) and the kids take it very seriously,”
she said. “They’ve worked really hard for this and they want to be honored for
The excitement and fun comes from the students knowing only (before
the ceremony) that they have placed, but not where they have placed. “They see
the trophies sitting on the table, but they don’t know if they will get first,
second or third.”
Boulden-Fields said she and the other members of the math department wanted to
celebrate our IPS math scholars the same way that sports and the Spelling Bee are
“I think it’s a chance to highlight students who are doing
well in math, and I think it’s a chance to kind of honor and give them a moment
in the spotlight, which they don’t normally get,” she said. “(The students who
participate), it shows that math is one of their passions and math is one of
the things that they enjoy about school.”
Students like Arsenal Technical High School’s Thomas J. and
Rachael S. Both are taking not one but two math classes at the same time (Algebra
2 and Geometry).
Rachael placed second in Geometry and second in Algebra 2.
Thomas placed third in Geometry and first in Algebra 2.
But even without the annual competition, Boulden-Fields said
these students “would still be doing great in math and moving on. The ceremony
is a chance for them to really shine and be recognized.”