Feb. 21, 2002 – They're big, they're bad and they can add. They're the mathletes.
And while other Virgin Islanders sat glued to their television sets to see who would win in the Winter Olympic Games, a crowd of parents, students and teachers hung on the edge of their seats Thursday at Palms Court Harborview Hotel as the St. Thomas-St. John annual MathCounts competition raged into its fifth hour.
The competition among eight teams of public and private school students from St. Thomas was so fierce that judges held a lightning round to separate the winners from the also-rans.
– At what time is the sum of the digits which represent the hours and minutes on a 12-hour digital watch the greatest? …
– What part of 15 hours is 15 seconds? …
– If the sides of a triangle are tripled, then the new area is what percent of the original area? …
From the back of the room, the mutters of adults working out the problems in their heads could be heard. Stymied by a question asking for the value of two unknowns in a complex equation, the whole room gasped as Giresh Mirpuri from Antilles School quickly piped up with right answer.
It took a little longer to answer the next one: There are 30 equally weighted questions on Mr. Daven's math final. If a student must score 68 percent or greater to pass, what is the minimum number of questions that must be answered correctly in order to pass?
Giresh's answer, the right one, was 21.
He went on to win the title of top mathlete, although Mikel McDonald from All Saints Cathedral School scored the most right answers in the lightning round.
But the big news was the announcement of the MathCounts team champion — from Sts. Peter and Paul School. As contest coordinator Ludence Romney noted, Antilles and All Saints have been the "perennial powerhouses" until now.
The four team members from Sts. Peter and Paul — Mais Hussein, Lucas Kindervater, Luke Kuhr and Ashton Phillip — will represent the district in next month's territorial competition on St. Croix, along with Giresh, Mikel, Elise Mike from All Saints and Jason Dane from Antilles. Elise placed third and Jason came in fifth in the individual competition.
The eight schools taking part were Addelita Cancryn, All Saints, Antilles, Bertha C. Boschulte, Montessori, Sts. Peter and Paul, Seventh-day Adventist and Wesleyan Academy. Almost all of the students are sixth, seventh or eighth graders.
At the territorial level, St. Croix Country Day School has dominated MathCounts contests in recent years. After watching Thursday's division faceoff, Romney said, "Country Day better watch out."
The St. Thomas-St. John district finals competition was sponsored by St. Thomas Rotary II.


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