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Two Middle Students in gifted math program - Congrtulations Matt and Lara

  • Two Sayville Middle School Students Complete  Prestigious Math Program for Creative Problem Solvers


    Last spring, Sayville SEED teacher Mrs. Cindy Dwyer encouraged several of her Middle School students to participate in the Institute for Creative Problem Solving, a math program for gifted students held at SUNY College Old Westbury on Saturdays.  As part of the application process, students were required to take a test onsite at Old Westbury campus.  “Among the 850 students tested on Long Island,” Mrs. Dwyer explained, “only 75 made it into the program, including two of the Sayville students I had recommended: Sayville Sixth-grader Matthew Tomko and Sayville Seventh-grader Lara Hirsch."

    “Acceptance was based on five criteria,” the Creative Problem Solving news release states: “a rigorous entrance exam, nominations, school transcripts, recommendation of student’s last math teacher, and a brief statement written by the student.”

    Matt and Lara had joined the other 73 participants for 60 hours of class time (over twenty Saturday mornings) and had been exploring mathematical topics from algebra, geometry, and number theory not usually covered in standard courses.

    Matt and Lara gained a variety of problem-solving skills and strategies. Sharing in the enthusiasm of mathematic problem-solving with other like-minded students, our amazing Sayville Middle School students have had their mathematical intuitive acumen sharpened in a thrilling environment of ideas and discoveries.

    “Throughout the course at the College of Old Westbury,” Lara explained in her own eloquent words, “my new and motivated classmates and I dug deep into a surplus of brain-moving math topics.  Within each class, our minds took different adventures.  Whether the teacher was inspiring, funny, interesting, caring, gifted, talented, intellectual, or all of the above, we explored the thoughts of each unique educator.”

    “In some classes,” Lara continued, “we looked deep into various puzzles and mazes.  We went beyond what is learned in school with area, divisibility, slopes, and scientific notation.  Our class went out-of-bounds with geometry, algebraic equations, and bases.  Some of the hands-on activities enjoyed throughout the year included fair dividing, types of elections, and circular, elliptical, parabolic, and hyperbolic figures. We answered SAT questions together, proving our talent.  We also reached new heights with the Pythagorean Theorem and Pascal’s Triangle. “

    “I have tremendously benefited from this program with my schoolwork, Lara concluded, “and with my knowledge of thinking outside the box.  I will carry my newfound knowledge throughout the course of my life.  As well as learning, I had fun with my fascination of math with a group of kids with the same interest.”

     Matt, a young man of few words added: “I've always loved math, but the regular work in school has always been too easy for me. This program gave me a chance to experience harder material at my level.” More recently, Matt competed in the Suffolk County Mathletes finals for 7th and 8th graders took first place, as a 6th grader! “I believe,” Matt’s mother, Debbie, commented, “that Matt’s participation in this incredible math program helped him win first place in the Mathletes competition.”

    Congratulations, Matt and Lara, for truly earning your spots in this prestigious program!


    photo caption: Matt and Lara are greeted by Dr. Jong Pil Lee, director and founder of the Institute of Creative Problem Solving for Gifted and Talented students. see also http://institutecreativeproblemsolving.org/

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