Skip to main content

50th Math Day a Success at Emporia State University

Three high school girls sit at a table and look over an answer on a math worksheet.

More than 400 high school students from across Kansas converged on the Emporia State University campus to compete in the Donald L. Bruyr Mathematics Day on Wednesday (Oct. 18). The 2023 competition was the 50th anniversary.

Because Math Day is not complete without some numbers, Dr. Qiang Shi, ESU professor of mathematics and Math Day coordinator, shared some with the high school students and teachers. The 2023 registration of 449 students showed an increase of 9% from 2022, and the 41 schools attending was a 10% increase.

Students who attended could compete individually in two competitions — algebra and geometry. Teams of three students could represent their schools in three team competitons — algebra, geometry and math scramble.

When they were not competing, students could attend events organized by the ESU student group Kansas Math Educators. These included an escape room and a display of historical math tools.

Laura Jelinek, a math teacher at Mulvane High School, brought students for the third time. She brought three students and enjoys the fact that they can be recognized for academics.

“This is a chance for upper-level math kids to shine,” she said, noting that Scholars Bowl is the only other purely academic avenue for recognition outside the classroom.

Her students included a football player and a sophomore whose family had recently returned to the United States after living in Japan.

Schools are divided into two groups for competition based on the classifications from the Kansas State High School Activities Association. Schools classified 1A, 2A and 3A compete against each other. Classes 4A, 5A, 6A and private schools are the second group.

With Mulvane High School in Class 4A, Jelinek wishes there were three classifications in the competition.

Jelinek’s three students performed well. Dominick Baerg took home a third-place medal in the individual geometry test. Preston Grube and Logan Armstrong placed in the Top 50% in the individual algebra test.

Susan Saunders also brought three students to the competition. Saunders works for the Marion County Co-Op as a gifted teacher. This was her first year bringing students to the competition. Her three competitors all attend Centre High School, a 1A school with 60 students. They are a freshman, sophomore and senior.

Saunders wanted her students to see future possibilities.

“This is an opportunity to expand their horizons,” she said. “They can see what they have learned and can apply it.”

The Centre High School team took home honors. Anna Godinez-Vinduska and Isabel Rzina placed in the Top 50% in the individual algebra test. With Grayson Best as the third teammate, they all received second-place medals in the math scramble. Godinez-Vinduska also took home a second-place medal in individual geometry, with Best and Rzina placing in the Top 50% in the same category.