Careers & Education

Math kids shine

Ainsworth Morris

Sunday, June 24, 2012    

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AMANI Cooke, a grade six student of St Richard's Primary School, is the 2012 Butterkist National Primary Schools' Mathematics Champion.

Amani's victory was announced at the June 15 awards luncheon held at Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.

"I feel very happy because I know I worked very hard and I am glad all of my work paid off," Cooke, 12, told the Jamaica Observer.

Her victory earned her $50,000 in cash and a trophy. She also earned her school the distinction of being the only institution to have won the competition 10 times.

According to Amani who scored 97.5 per cent, several months of poring over past test papers from the competition — complete with guidance from her grade teacher, Eulie Mantock — had prepared her well for the feat.

The young math champion's schoolmate, Arianne Smith, who scored 93.5 per cent, placed second.

"I feel happy although I didn't come first. I'm still proud that I came second," Arianne, who won a trophy and $25,000 cash, told Career & Education.

Mantock said both girls have made her and their institution proud, having not only performed well in the math competition, but also having earned for themselves places at Campion College following the recent Grade Six Achievement Test.

Meanwhile, Mikaela Richardson of Excelsior Primary School scored 91.5 per cent in the math competition. For her efforts, she was named the third-place winner — a placement which saw her receiving a trophy and $20,000.

Gregory Bruce of Constant Spring Primary and Junior High School, who scored 91 per cent, was the fourth-place winner. He received a trophy and $15,000.

There was a tie between Ajaun Lyew of St Richard's Primary and Yackeim Folkes of Dunrobin Primary School for fifth place. Both scored 90.5 per cent in the competition and received $12,000 each along with their trophies.

Each year, hundreds of students from the island's 14 parishes face off in the competition, which is designed to hone their math skills while earning them the title of champion. The 2012 competition — sponsored by the Seprod Group, producers of the Butterkist brand of biscuits — was staged on May 10 at various examination centres across the island.

Those named champion over the years include the 2009 Rhodes Scholar Michael Waul, formerly of Marlie Mount Primary School, who won in 1998; and the 2010 Jamaica Centenary Scholar Kemar England, formerly of Naggo Head Primary School, who won in 2003.

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