From left, Emily McNally, Rylee Fruin, Kaydin Schafer, Aubrey Baugh, Isabelle Padilla and Kaylie Dyer are all Grade 9 students at St. Mary’s who recently participated in the Canadian Team Mathematics Contest at the University of Waterloo. They were the youngest group, the only all female team and the only one from Alberta at the competition. NEWS PHOTO SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Six female Grade 9 students at St. Mary’s School recently participated in the Canadian Team Mathematics Contest at the University of Waterloo. The group had three distinctions at the competition: they were the only all-female group competing, they were the youngest and the only group from Alberta.

Grade 8 teacher Ms. Kerr chaperoned the mathletes to Windsor.

“All the math teachers were unable to go, so the girls really needed someone to step up. It’s a great group of girls. Definitely, I want to help so I said let’s do it.”

Rylee Fruin did some research and found the competition online and thought it would be something to try with a group of friends.

“I thought it would be fun to try to challenge ourselves and see what high school could bring for us in math. It was a chance to go out of our province and show us how to prepare for our future.”

It was a lottery to select teams to attend the competition. Isabelle Padilla explained, “There were people competing online at the same competition, but none of them were from Alberta either.”

Arriving was intimidating for the entire group as all other competing teams were composed of primarily Grade 12 students. There were three tests based on the Grade 10-12 Ontario curriculum, well above the grade level of this group. An individual written test with calculator, team questions without calculator and a timed relay.

Aubrey Baugh said, “We got to learn a different curriculum. We were thrown into a different learning and testing environment. It helped us adapt and allowed us to see math questions we would have in the future. Given that we are in Grade 9, we didn’t learn any of this with the help of a teacher. Any practising prior to going to Waterloo, we met together to go through questions, using teamwork to help each other out and figure out stuff. I think that portion of it is the education experience.”

“It was hard,” said Emily McNally. “Personally, I found the individuals the most challenging. Once we were able to work together in the group one, I found it easier.”

For Kaylie Dyer she found the experience of hanging out with the group the most beneficial.

“I’m not a social person and now I have a group I can be with. It really worked out.”

The group took a tour of the campus and the guide made them aware of aspects of choosing a university they hadn’t thought of before, such as safety for women walking at night.

All six gave a unanimous yes for wanting to compete in another competition.

Kaydin Schafer added, “One thing that this whole experience has taught me is how to lose. Even if we didn’t win, coming together as a team and being able to experience Waterloo, seeing the campus and doing it with friends, it was a big moment in my life. It taught me I’m not going to be the best at everything I do but I can’t look down on myself because of that. We tried our hardest and I’m proud of all of us for the questions we did answer because they were really hard.”

All six students want to thank their sponsors, CF Industries, Dr. A.H. MacKenzie, MNP, P.H. McNally and Associates and the Kiwanis Club of Medicine Hat.

“We didn’t get here on our own,’ said Baugh. “We had lots of help from sponsors who paid for the entire trip.”

By SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 21, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Medicine Hat News   Medicine Hat, Alberta
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