Career & Education

Munro, Hampton take M&M maths competition

Sunday, June 24, 2018

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Munro College and Hampton School dominated the 2018 staging of M&M Mathematics Competition, the finals of which were recently staged in St Elizabeth.

Munro's Kirkland Webb and Clevon Wilson, and Hampton's Lauren Walfall topped their grade category and took the top three places overall.

“Mathematics is one of my favourite subjects,” said Webb, the grade 11 top boy who desires to be an orthopaedic surgeon. “It allows individuals, like myself, to have a more vivid and comprehensive point of view of the world in which we live and its various processes.”

The same is true for Wilson, the 16-year-old fourth former who won in the grade 10 category.

“I love mathematics because it enhances problem-solving skills,” he said. “I find it very rewarding when I solve a difficult problem.”

With the goal of shifting perceptions about math, discovering hidden math competencies in students, and inspiring teachers to find and use cutting edge methods to teach the subject with a view to improving academic performance among students in St Elizabeth, the 15-year-old competition also seeks to foster a love for the subject.

The brainchild of Don Mullings, director of M&M Jamaica Limited, a Kingston-based engineering, construction and project management company, the competition also serves as a medium through which Mullings gives back to his home parish. In essence, the contest seeks to rally excitement around the subject, which is often disliked or feared by many students. Not Walfall, a grade nine student.

“From a very tender age I found mathematics to be a very interesting subject,” said the aspiring orthodontist. “By using formulas I was given, solving questions and achieving answers would normally come with ease for me. I also found myself wanting to do mathematics whenever experiencing a difficult day, and instantly discovered that I had a special passion for it. It is, and will always be my favourite subject.”

The M&M maths competition had its genesis in 2004. This year 40 students from nine schools participated, with students from first to fifth form doing written examinations — a structured paper and a multiple choice paper set by an independent body and administered in one day.

Giovani Headley from Munro College won the grade eight category, while Kishema Salmon of the Hampton School took home first place for grade seven.

The competition wrapped up in April.

Mullings said the increase in the number of participating schools from five in the beginning, is evidence of the competition's impact to date.

“This competition has encouraged participants to create genuine love for the subject and a desire to excel academically...Some of our former recipients have remained committed to the competition, giving back to their alma maters by teaching in the subject area. Other recipients have gone on to successful careers and are now offering scholarships to students who excel in the math competition.

“We believe this speaks volumes to the impact the competition has had on the lives of these students. We hope this competition will continue to challenge students, foster a full appreciation of the subject area, and create critical thinkers for many years to come,” he said.

In addition to the prizes for winning the competiton, participating students have paid a courtesy call on Governeor General Patrick Allen and have done a cultural tour of Kingston.

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