Math enthusiasts take on state

March 01, 2009|By Nicole Fuller | Nicole Fuller,nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

Six students at Chesapeake Science Point Public Charter School will participate in a statewide math competition later this month after scoring big wins in the county.

The six from CSPPCS are among the top 10 students in the Annapolis chapter of MathCounts, a national nonprofit with a mission of enhancing math skills of middle schoolers. Students from Severna Park Middle School and Severn School also placed in the top 10, who will compete in the statewide competition March 21. The Annapolis chapter of MathCounts consists of middle school students who are home-schooled and enrolled in private and public schools in Anne Arundel County and the Eastern Shore.

Ferhat Avsar, an algebra teacher at Chesapeake who coaches the students, who call themselves Team Infinity, arrived at school early and stayed late for tutoring sessions. During the holiday vacations for Thanksgiving and Christmas late last year, Avsar held math camps at the home of two students - Lukash and Ruslan Onyshkevych, 7th-grade twins, who are hopeful that they will make it to the national competition.

"It was such a riot," said the twins' mother, Oksana Lassowsky. "I went downstairs at 6:30 in the morning, and they were talking triangles. Mr. Avsar is unbelievable. ... He just does magic with them. It was so much fun to watch. They're feeling like rock stars. I don't know where the math kids get to feel like rock stars. This has just completely renewed my faith in public schools."

The statewide competition will be at the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus.

"You have the smartest MathCounts kids in the state, and some of them are just absolutely brilliant, and it's a fun thing to watch," said Joel Oppenheimer, the state coordinator for MathCounts.

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