Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Seoul American Middle School student will compete in a national math competition in Colorado after her team won first place in a worldwide DODDS competition.

Michelle Roh and three other top-scoring students from Europe will comprise the Department of Defense Dependents Schools “state” team that will compete against other U.S. teams in the national finals in Denver in May.

Seoul American Middle School took first place in the Pacific-wide MATHCOUNTS competition in February and advanced to a March 12 DODDS worldwide competition, where it snagged top honors over eight other schools.

The winning team included Roh and teammates Jay Han, Kate Park and Jenna Weida.

MATHCOUNTS is a national coaching and competition program aimed at generating enthusiasm for and improving skills in middle school mathematics.

Seoul American Middle School “mathletes” were selected in the fall based on a series of tests, said principal Darrell Mood.

To gear up for the competition, students practiced with school coaches two hours weekly, reviewing equations, working problem-solving techniques and participating in timed drills.

The mathletes also put in individual study time in between Girl Scouts, sports practice, swim meets and homework, Mood said.

“We had a really great group of kids this year. They were always there at practice and didn’t let other things get in the way,” he said.

Mood applauded Roh and her teammates. Their hard work had finally been recognized, he said. Last year, the team won the Pacific-wide competition but failed to place in the DODDS competition, Mood said.

Participation in the competition instills the importance of teamwork, he said.

“It’s getting them to learn to collaborate in high-pressure situations and I think that’s probably the most powerful part,” he said.

Seoul American Middle School coach Kathee Lewis will accompany Roh as a coach for the DODDS team in Colorado, Mood said.

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