This story was submitted by Harker middle school math teacher Vandana Kadam.
Harker students had great success at the Mathcounts chapter level contest in mid-February. Harker brought a team of four students, as well as six others who participated as individuals. This year, seven grade 8 and three grade 7 students represented Harker. The team comprised Jimmy Lin, Rajiv Movva and Shaya Zarkesh, all grade 8, and Katherine Tian, grade 7.
The individual participants were grade 8 students Jerry Chen, Michael Kwan, Jeffrey Ma and and Randy Zhao, as well as grade 7 students Rose Guan and Cindy Wang. Everyone performed exceptionally well. The Santa Clara Valley Chapter is known to be the toughest chapter for Mathcounts nationwide, with about 430 students from 52 schools participating. Harker’s team placed fourth in the chapter behind Miller Middle School, Cupertino Middle School and Redwood Middle School, who were all within three points of each another. Harker’s team will head to the state competition on March 22 at Stanford University.
In addition to the four team members, Chen will go to the state competition as an individual participant (not on the regular team) due to his excellent performance at the chapter competition. Also noteworthy is that Movva placed first in the countdown round, in which a group of students is given 45 seconds to answer a question. The student who buzzes first gets to answer and, if they answer correctly, they move to the next round. Prior to the final round, there were several rounds where the first student to answer two out of three problems correctly was declared the winner. In the Santa Clara Valley Chapter, students buzz within the first three seconds of the question being shown on the projector, creating pressure to buzz quickly and give the correct answer. The students worked very hard to reach this level of success, even attending weekend training sessions and after-school sessions since September.