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Hundreds participate in high school math competition

Okanagan student math compeition
Hundreds of Grade 8 to 12 students are set to participate in the annual British Columbia Secondary School Mathematics Contest (BCSSMC) for the Okanagan Region.

On April 1, junior (Grade 8 to10) and senior (Grade 11 and12) students will put their math skills to the test as they complete the 45 minute multiple-choice exam administered in each of the participating schools by its teachers. The top three to six finishers from each school will be invited to attend the final round taking place on May 1 at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus.

“This year is particularly special, as we celebrate 25 years of fostering mathematic interest and talent in secondary school students in our communities,” says regional contest founder, provincial coordinator, and Okanagan College Mathematics professor Clint Lee. “We always see strong participation numbers, sometimes upwards of 800 students, if not more. To me, that speaks volumes about math being an important part of our kids’ education.”

Finalists will vie for top honours in each category as well as cash prizes. Rewarding the outstanding achievement of the top senior student, a prize of $200 combined with a one-semester tuition scholarship to either Okanagan College or UBC Okanagan, to a maximum value of $3,000 is up for the taking.

There are many ways students can prepare for the challenging math problems that will test both their problem solving skills and understanding of complex mathematic formulas. Some schools host preparation sessions and students can review past contest papers with solutions online (

“It’s wonderful to see the level of engagement and enthusiasm by the students for the math language. One of the best parts is the conversations the contest generates as students go over the problems with their teachers and with one another,” reflects Lee.

The competition was inaugurated in 1990 by Okanagan College’s Mathematics department as a way to bolster interactions between secondary and post-secondary education institutions and to recognize math achievements locally. Today, the competition is co-sponsored by the College and UBCO. The Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC), Mathtoons Media, and the Canadian Mathematics Society (CMS) proudly support rising math talent through their sponsorship of the BCSSMC.<

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