Wasatch Academy is home to many bright minds that are encouraged to express their knowledge both in and out of the classroom, which is why Wasatch Academy has participated in Snow College’s math competition for the past fifteen years.
Guided by coach Dr. Zeb Engberg, students on the math team pour over questions from past competitions, which range from algebra to calculus, and stress critical thinking and creativity in math. In a normal class setting, students are often drilled on principles and not how to apply them in a creative way. According to Dr. Engberg himself, “Contest style problems foster creativity, collaboration, working memory, grit, and lateral thinking.”
Besides inspiring creativity, events such as this incite passion. The competition was steep this year as fifteen schools including Wasatch Academy participated in the competition. A few students including Namgyal Chonyi, Andy Wu, and Yaxin Lan, all of whom are new to contest-style math, went above and beyond preparing. They spent many lunches working through problems with Dr. Engberg.
Given the team’s preparation, it is no surprise that they performed well. In the senior division (grades 10-12), John Kim, George Zhao, William Wang, Winnie Li, Bryan Lyu, David Liu, and Ben Cottam took 7 of the top 10 positions. Eric Yang placed 3rd out of 200 students in the junior division (grades 7-9). “When time is called and my students leave their tests, their passion for challenging mathematics is audible as they discuss their approaches with one another. I witness curiosity, frustration, relief, inspiration, and exhaustion in their voices. This is impassioned learning at its finest,” states Engberg.