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Mathlete of the Year


2011 MATHCOUNTS champ Scott Wu with U.S. Energy Dept. and Raytheon sponsors

Cheering crowds. An ESPN crew. Who knew math could rival the NBA playoffs for excitement? Yet such was the level of fervor May 7 as 224 middle-school “mathletes” from around the country vied for scholarships at the 2011 Raytheon MATHCOUNTS national competition in Washington, D.C.

This year’s champion, Scott Wu, an eighth grader from Baton Rouge, La., was one of 12 finalists who made the “count-down” round following a grueling three-hour written exam. The Glasgow Middle School studentwon by answering the following problem seconds faster than his Missouri rival: It takes 180 digits to write down all of the two-digit positive integers. How many of these digits are odd? (Answer: 95).

As National Champion, Wu will receive the $8,000 Donald G. Weinert Scholarship and a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala.  U.S. News & World Report’s education blog covered the 2011 event.

This highlight video gives an overview of the 2011 Raytheon MATHCOUNTS national competiton:


Each year, more than 100,000 students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Department of Defense and State Department schools worldwide compete in a MATHCOUNTS program at school. To advance to the national competition, students not only had to place in the top four of their peers during their state competition in March, they also had to advance through local and chapter-level competitions.  Over the past 28 years, millions of students have participated in MATHCOUNTS programs.

President Obama greets 2010 MATHCOUNTS finalists

President Obama greets 2010 MATHCOUNTS finalists.

MATHCOUNTS recently announced the launch of a new program: Reel Math Challenge. It involves teams of students using technology to create videos about math problems and associated concepts. MATHCOUNTS hopes to use the new program to continue to excite students about math while honing their creativity and communication skills.

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