3 youths' math skills add up to tournament championships

April 25, 2001|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Three youths emerged yesterday as grand champions in the 24 Challenge math tournament at Camden Yards, which showcased the talents of 100 pupils from city schools.

The champions - Christopher Harris of Windsor Hills Elementary School, Tam Nguyen of Southeast Middle School and Christopher Allulis of Roland Park Elementary-Middle School - each received a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond, a trophy, a certificate and tickets to an Orioles game.

The Sweet family, which has sent at least one child to the tournament since 1995, didn't take home a first prize. Ten-year-old Robby, a fifth-grader at Violetville Elementary-Middle School who won his division last year, lost in the semifinals. His 13-year-old sister, Sandy, a seventh-grader at Violetville, made it to the finals again.

Sandy was one of nine finalists, each of whom received a $250 U.S. Savings Bond. All other contestants received $50 bonds.

"I think I did pretty good," Robby said. "I played against sixth-graders, so it was pretty tough for me."

Trudy Sweet, Robby and Sandy's mother, said her children are looking forward to next year's competition. "Robby got a little bit emotional, but [Sandy] came up and told him, `The boy who beat you beat me last year," Sweet said.

Sponsored by Allfirst Bank, the 24 Challenge tournament included pupils from 50 elementary and middle schools. The game is played with flashcards, each containing four numbers. To score, a pupil must use addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills to reach the "24 solution."

"We didn't have any grand champions this year, but we did well," said Trudy Sweet, who noted that her children have learned there's more to the tournament than winning.

"It's a personal challenge for them," she said. "And Robby said he was excited to go, not only to compete but to reunite with friends from last year."

Two teachers were recognized for creative use of the game in classroom instruction. Leah Garner of Guilford Elementary-Middle School and Elaine Maher of Southeast Middle School received $250 each for themselves and $500 each for their schools.

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