PORTAGE │ A packed house watched local kids engage in a heated competition at a Portage High School gymnasium Thursday. And not a basketball was in sight.
Students from 15 Porter County elementary schools competed in the 17th annual Indiana Academic M.A.T.H. Bowl, one of 44 competitions taking place across the state.
Fourteen of the 15 schools at the Porter County district bowl were competing in the same enrollment classification, Red Class, with Central Elementary School, of Valparaiso, taking first place.
Central teacher/coach Daniel Darnell said winning the top prize, something they’ve done before in the district, “is pretty exciting” and now their goal is to win first in the state.
“They’re all kids who love math,” he said.
Central fourth-grader Henry Youngren wasn’t sure going in if his team would win. He said he likes math.
“There is an infinite amount of difficulty to it,” he said.
His teammate, fifth-grader Molly Farmer, said the victory felt good and that math is enjoyable because “it just clicks.”
Valparaiso’s Memorial Elementary School took second and Union Center Elementary School finished in third place.
Flint Lake Elementary School was the only school in the Orange Class and its scores will go against others across the state in the same classification.
Other schools competing included Jones Elementary in Portage. Fifth-grader Madison Seramur said the students work well together.
“We practiced every Thursday after school and during recess and on Tuesday during recess,” she said.
Jones Elementary teacher/coach Karmo Leuthart said it was the first time the school competed in the bowl.
“We were so excited for our kids getting the chance to do this,” she said.
Myers Elementary School Principal Jeff King awarded all the students prizes following the event. He said the students enjoy the challenging problems they face while competing in front of a large audience.
“I think that entices and motivates them,” he said. “And they get to interact and develop friendships with classmates.”
The final results of all competitions throughout the state will be posted by noon Friday on the Indiana Association of School Principals website at www.iasp.org.