Herbert Morrison Technical High wins 4th annual UTech mathematics competition
Professor Colin Gyles (centre) presents the winner's trophy to Kaila Grant, team captain, Herbert Morrison Technical High School. Team members and their teachers (from left, front row) are Alyssa Dobson, Crystalee Gardner (mathematics coach), Jayden Brown, Ken-Garfield Douglas; and (left to right, back row) Jehosha Brown (head, Mathematics Department), and students Daniel Neil and Jemoy Jarrett.

MATH brilliance was on display at the exciting finish to the University of Technology, Jamaica's fourth annual Mathematics Quiz Competition which saw both finalist student teams from Herbert Morrison Technical High School and St Jago High tying at 12 points after regulation match time.

But it was the brilliant response to the logic-based question, "What is the contrapositive for the statement: If water is frozen then its temperature is below zero degrees Celsius'?" answered correctly with, "Its temperature is not below zero degrees Celsius, then it is not frozen," by Jemoy Jarrett of Herbert Morrison Technical High that pipped the school's win over St Jago High in the knockout tiebreaker round played at the University of Technology, Jamaica's Papine campus on December 15.

The 30-minute final match was played in three thrilling rounds, with each team answering questions from the CSEC and CAPE Level 1 and 2 mathematics curricula posed by quiz master Judith DeLisser, lecturer in the School of Mathematics and Statistics (SOMAS), Faculty of Science and Sport, UTech, Jamaica. Both teams impressed with their quick responses, showing competency in such areas as trigonometry, complex numbers, functions, probability, polynomials, logic and differential equations.

The three top schools received trophies, cash prizes and gifts in kind, provided through the support of sponsors CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, Bryan Studios Ltd, H& L Ultimate Touch Promotion and Bureau of Standards Jamaica. All competing students received a certificate of participation.

The competition, which had its inaugural staging in 2017 and has been on hiatus for the past two years owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, began with the preliminary round comprising nine high schools from across Jamaica on November 26. The 2022 competing schools were Calabar High, Merl Grove High School, Clarendon College, St George's College, Bishop Gibson High School, Belair High School, Convent of Mercy "Alpha" Academy, St Jago High School and Herbert Morrison Technical High.

Second runner-up was awarded to St George's College while Merl Grove High School rounded out the top four schools.

Acting president, UTech, Jamaica, Professor Colin Gyles in his welcome remarks noted that the competition is part of the university's thrust to promote and develop awareness of mathematics as a tool for problem-solving across all disciplines.

"The competition is also intended to generate a cultural change and love for mathematics in Jamaica and to foster an acceptance of mathematics as a way of life," he added. "Winning is an attitude of excellence."

Professor Gyles congratulated all finalists and all participating schools, inviting the students in the near future to apply to UTech, Jamaica to pursue tertiary studies.

"There is a place for you here — whether in the Faculty of Science and Sport or any of our other seven colleges and faculties — covering a wide range of disciplines in science, engineering, computing, law, architecture, business, dentistry, the humanities, and other areas," Professor Gyles stated.

Ave Maria McIntosh, head of the School of Mathematics and Statistics, in giving a background to the competition indicated that it was conceptualised as part of the university's thrust to increase interest and critical thinking skills in mathematics so as to promote the importance and development of the subject as a tool for problem-solving across disciplines.

"We also seek to identify gifted students and nurture them, thus promoting national development," she noted, adding that, "From this we aim to create mathematics ambassadors who will spread the love for mathematics."

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