A group of Mount Douglas Secondary School students gathered for cupcakes May 21 to celebrate the many group and individual math competition awards they took home this year. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

A group of Mount Douglas Secondary School students gathered for cupcakes May 21 to celebrate the many group and individual math competition awards they took home this year. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

Saanich mathletes make their mark with record-setting awards haul

Mount Doug Secondary students take home best-ever results for an Island school

For years now, Mount Douglas Secondary School has fostered a community where math and the students who love it are celebrated. This year, with an unprecedented number of math competition wins, the hard work paid off.

The school placed first among Island schools for Grades 9, 10 and 11 in the University of Waterloo national competition and first overall on the Island in the Canadian Open Mathematics Competition. In the provincial math challengers competition, the Grade 10 team captured top spot and the Grade 9 team snagged first on the Island.

Individually, Raphael Lee placed first on the Island and seventh in B.C. for Grade 9s and Samuel Li placed first in B.C. for Grade 10s.

Mount Doug math teacher Neal Johnson said the overall results were the best ever by an Island school.

Math teacher Neal Johnson presents Samuel Li with a medal for his first place provincial win. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

“Some of these students’ abilities are just tremendous,” Johnson said with pride. He’s been teaching within the math challenge program since 1996, with about 15 of his most recent years at Mount Doug. During that time, he’s seen a definite increase in the number of interested students.

“It’s become a massive math community now all throughout Gordon Head,” he said.

The way Johnson has it set up, Grade 11 and 12 students help coach Grade 9s and 10s. Two years ago they expanded that mentorship further, offering coaching to students at nearby middle schools.

Justin Siu, a Grade 12 math coach, said he didn’t think there would be much interest when they started, but the first time they showed up at Arbutus Middle School, about 40 students attended. They had to move from the drama room into the cafeteria.

Math teacher Neal Johnson presents Raphael Lee with a medal for winning first place on Vancouver Island for Grade 9 students in the Math Challengers provincial competition. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

“You always get kids coming up at the end of the day saying, ‘thank you so much for helping’,” Siu said. “It’s very gratifying the amount of students who come out and the things they gain from it.”

Fellow student math coach Rafael Edora agreed, saying what makes math enjoyable is the problem-solving aspect of it.

“Teaching people to find those solutions gives a lot of that same satisfaction,” he said.

Both Siu and Edora said when they were in Grade 9, the group had so few members they would have to go class to class near competition time to try and convince enough people to join their team. This year, they had too many.

“They have a community of peers,” Johnson said. “People who actually really enjoy mathematics.”


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca

AwardsGreater Victoria School Districtvancouverisland

Just Posted

Flowers and candles were laid on the driveway of the Weber home, where Kerri Weber was found dead in November 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Langford man to stand trial for death of his wife last November

Ken Weber is charged with second-degree murder of his wife, Kerri Weber

Police dog Obi assisted in an arrest Tuesday night after a man reportedly damaged a Victoria restaurant with a large steel beam. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Police dog called in after Victoria restaurant damaged with steel beam

Suspect reportedly entered restaurant and started damaging walls

Police dog Hitch helped arrest a man who had reportedly threatened the security guards of a Victoria shopping centre with a knife on June 15. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Man with knife arrested after reportedly threatening Bay Centre security guards

The K9 unit’s police dog, Hitch, was deployed to assist with the arrest

GardenWorks nursery in Oak Bay at its home until August. (Black Press Media file photo)
GardenWorks puts down new roots in Oak Bay this summer

Nursery shifts down The Avenue to fill former fitness studio space

Saanich Volunteer Services Society volunteers head out to deliver this week’s meals to local seniors. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
VIDEO: Weekly meal deliveries help brighten the day for Saanich seniors

Seniors are delivered nutritional meals by a group of volunteers every Wednesday

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

For more than a year, Rene Doyharcabal and a small group of neighbours in Langley’s Brookswood neighbourhood have been going out every evening to show support for first responders by honking horns and banging pots and drums. Now, a neighbour has filed a noise complaint. (Langley Advance Times file)
Noise complaint filed against nightly show of support for health care workers in B.C. city

Langley Township contacted group to advise of complaint, but no immediate action is expected

A nurse prepares a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Thomas
Vancouver couple pleads guilty to breaking Yukon COVID rules, travelling for vaccine

Chief Judge Michael Cozens agreed with a joint sentencing submission,

An inmate in solitary confinement given lunch on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN/Lars Hagberg
22-hour cap on solitary confinement for youth in custody still too long: B.C. lawyer

Jennifer Metcalfe was horrified to hear a youth had spent a total of 78 straight days in isolation

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts was found dead near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

COVID-related trash is washing up on shorelines across the world, including Coldstream’s Kal Beach, as pictured in this May 2021 photograph. (Jennifer Smith - Black Press)
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

Most Read