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North Hills Seniors Finish in Top 6% In Math Competition

Students earn $250 each toward college or university tuition.

A team of students is an Honorable Mention award winner in the Moody’s Mega Math Challenge, open to high school juniors and seniors throughout the eastern United States.  The team of seniors Brando Barry, Geneva Jackson, Joe Plazek and Matt Ubinger placed within the top 55 from a field of 961 teams. 

The North Hills students earned a $1,000 prize to be divided equally among the four team members and applied toward their college or university tuition.  This was the seventh year for Moody’s Mega Math Challenge and the first year that North Hills has participated.

In this year's contest, more than 5,000 students used mathematical modeling to identify and rank the best regions in the country for establishing high speed rail lines as part of a nationwide network, an issue currently being debated in Congress. Using their math knowledge along with critical thinking, research, and analytical skills, participants provided mathematically-founded recommendations based on potential ridership numbers, cost of implementation, and effects of such a program on foreign-energy dependence.

Working independently via the Internet, teams of 3-5 students had 14 hours to study the issue, collect data, and devise models before uploading their solutions in the form of a research paper. 

Submissions were analyzed and ranked by more than 100 mathematician judges. Of the nearly 1,000 papers submitted, only 134 made it through round one, or "triage" judging, and were advanced to the "contention" or second round, which took place this past weekend at the Philadelphia headquarters of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), organizers of the contest. It was here that these papers, which represent the top 14 percent of submissions, were whittled down to 55 teams worthy of prize recognition. 

Each school may enter up to two teams.  Also competing from North Hills Senior High School, was the team of seniors Stephen Hardy, Kayla Kennedy, James Kollinger, Emily Ward, and Joe Wyzkoski.

The M3 Challenge is a unique contest designed to highlight the value of mathematics in daily life and in solving real-world issues. It is sponsored by The Moody's Foundation, which awards a total of $115,000 in prizes.

The Finalist teams, or top six overall will receive scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 and are invited to present their winning solutions to a panel of professional applied mathematicians at the Manhattan headquarters of Moody's Corporation.  Six Semi-Finalist teams will receive prizes of $1,500 each and 43 Honorable Mention awardees will each receive $1,000. 

For a complete list of Finalists, Semi-Finalists and Honorable Mention awardees, visit http://m3challenge.siam.org/about/mediacenter/index.php?id=1580.  

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