Elba Students Take Top Honors in Genesee Math Club Contest

Micah Moreland, an artist at heart, says he likes math "a little more" after teaming with fellow eighth-grader Dusty Foreman to take first place in the third annual Genesee Community College Math Club Poster Contest. Moreland said he provided the artistic touch while Foreman concentrated on the math component to create "Math & Soccer" - an outstanding display of the geometric aspects of the soccer ball.

The winning duo led a contingent from Elba Central School that dominated the contest, which attracted 67 posters from middle school students (grades 6-8) in Genesee County. Elba students placed first, second and third and also took one of two "honorable mentions." Two girls from Oakfield-Alabama took the other honorable mention spot.

"We got the idea off the Internet and figured out the degrees of all the angles," Moreland said at an awards ceremony Wednesday night at the Conable Technology Building on the Genesee campus. "There definitely is a lot of math in sports." Moreland and Foreman used formulas to compute the circumference, diameter and volume of the soccer ball and specifics of the hexagons and pentagons on the ball.

"We worked out the (mathematical) problems and used WordArt and the Internet to make the poster the best that we could," said Foreman, who noted that he needs math to help realize his goals in the technological field.

The Genesee Math Club celebrates Math Awareness Month with the poster contest designed to "show students that math is fun" and to present mathematics in a positive light, said Mary Knappen, mathematics professor and Math Club adviser.

"Statistics indicate that math test scores tend to be declining, especially in the United States, so we hope to have a little impact (locally) to help boost it," Knappen said. "We find that students' interest in math takes a turn in the middle school years and we want to show them that it can be fun and exciting."

Knappen spoke to the winners and their families about the importance of math skills in the workplace. "If you want to get a high-paying job, you'll need to have a good background in math," she said.Judges considered four categories - overall impact, clarity, appropriateness and creativity - as they graded the posters. Knappen said the judging was very close; in fact, she called upon another math professor to break a tie for first place. Moreland and Foreman earned $50 to split for their first-place poster.Elba seventh-graders Richard Phelan and Jarad Kogut placed second for "Smart Hockey," a unique poster of a hockey goal complete with netting over it. They won $25.

Philip Casper and Lean Mateos, Elba seventh-graders, placed third for "Baseball Statistics," and won $15.

Cristian Sanchez and Luciano Villanueva, Elba eighth-graders, who created "Soccer: The Hands-Off Sport," and seventh-graders Erica Culver and Katie Durham of O-A, who submitted "Soccer," were honorable mentions.

Math teachers Colleen Vacanti and Dan Courtney assisted the students from Elba and O-A, respectively.The Math Club treated winners and their families to a pizza party for their efforts. Genesee Professor Phil Pickering and Math Club officers Kelly Anderson and April Wittkop helped coordinate the poster contest and awards ceremony. For more information about Genesee's Math Club, contact either Knappen or Pickering at 585-343-0055, extensions 6382 or 6388, respectively, or e-mail them at mcknappen@genesee.edu or ptpickering@genesee.edu.

Math Poster Contest Winners Summary Chart / April 26, 2006

AwardNameGradeSchool DistrictTeacherPoster Name1st PlaceDusty ForemanMicah Moreland88Elba Central Colleen Vacanti"Math and Soccer"2nd PlaceRichard PhelanJarad Kogut77Elba CentralColleen Vacanti"Smart Hockey"3rd PlacePhilip CasperLean Mateos77Elba CentralColleen Vacanti"Baseball Statistics"Honorable MentionCristian SanchezLuciano Villanueva88Elba CentralColleen Vacanti"Soccer: The Hands-Off Sport"Honorable MentionErica CulverKatie Durham77Oakfield-AlabamaDan Courtney"Soccer"

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Please note: Two photographs from the Math Contest Ceremony on Wednesday, April 26th are available at the following Internet address. If possible, please give photo credit to: Genesee Community College/M. Pettinella

MATH TO BOOT: The "Math in Soccer" creation of Micah Moreland and Dusty Foreman of Elba captured first place in the third annual Genesee Community College Math Club Poster Contest. From left are Mary Knappen, Genesee math professor and contest coordinator; Micah Moreland, Dusty Foreman, and Elba math teacher Colleen Vacanti. http://marketing.genesee.edu/images/Math_first_place.jpg

CONTEST WINNERS: Recognized for submitting outstanding posters in the third annual Genesee Community College Math Club Poster Contest are, from left, Micah Moreland, Dusty Foreman, Richard Phalen, Jarad Kogut, Philip Casper, Luciano Villanueva and Cristian Sanchez. All are seventh- and eighth-graders at Elba Central School. http://marketing.genesee.edu/images/poster_winners.jpg

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