Student competes at state


After qualifying the top three at regionals, an eighth grader from West Liberty Middle School moved onto the state competition in a mathematic competition.

Jayden Thammavongsa traveled to Ames last week with his Talented and Gifted (TAG) teacher Jackie Henderson for the MATHCOUNTS competition.

Only 125 students were selected for this competition.

“I thought it was crazy because I didn’t think I would actually make it,” Thammavongsa said.

“It was a good day,” Henderson added. “Jayden represented us well.”

MATHCOUNTS is a national math competition for sixth to eighth graders, according to its website. It has an exciting and challenging competition that rewards the students for their achievements in the subject.

To prepare for the competition, Thammavongsa reviewed math problems on his own.

The types of problems ranged from story problems to geometry to formulas, Henderson said.

Thammavongsa was nervous during the whole competition but kept focused.

“There was a time limit for the entire round,” he said. “The sprint round was 30-minutes. The target round there were two questions at a time but it was six minutes per two questions.”

Thammavongsa didn’t make the top 10 at state but felt like he did really well, he said.

He encourages students who like math to think about competing in a math competition like this one.

“If you work hard you can do it,” he added.

Thammavongsa didn’t place in the top ten at state, Henderson said. His results will be mailed to the school soon but she felt like he did pretty well.

Thammavongsa is taking Algebra 1 at the middle school, which is the highest level of math available to middle school students, he said.

His classmates will ask him for help with their math homework but Thammavongsa has a rule he follows in every class.

“If they’re talking when the teacher is talking, I won’t talk to them,” he said about his classmates.

“He’s a pretty serious student,” Henderson added.

Henderson said she believed Thammavongsa would be taking advantage of the harder courses offered at the high school.