Groups of elementary school-age boys and girls huddled with their heads together at last week’s Superintendent’s Cup competition, scratching out answers to problems such as, “Add the greatest common factor of 28 and 72 to the least common multiple of 3 and 4.”
Teams from Rosa Parks and Veterans Park elementary schools took top honors.
(The answer, by the way, is 16.)
The annual event is the culmination of the Academic Challenge program, in which teams of six students confer to answer questions about core content, earning a point for each correct answer. There are divisions for primary students in second and third grades and for intermediate students in fourth and fifth grades.
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Winners have an opportunity to earn college scholarships through the program, which is sponsored by the school system and the Urban League’s One Community, One Voice.
“It’s a great opportunity,” said Chanda Halliday, who coordinates the primary Academic Challenge program at Arlington Elementary. “It gives kids opportunities that they might not otherwise have.”
The top award for primary students went to a team from Rosa Parksthat included Armeen Aftab, Kayla Chambers-Reed, Reagan Hammond, Anjala Karri, Maheen Khalid and Avneesh Kudrimoti. A team from Glendover came in second, followed by Breckinridge.
The winner of the intermediate division was a team from Veterans Park that included Anika Diggikar, Max Kelsey, Matthew Kotter, Zachary Rothrock, Aaron Wilson and Jennifer Zachman. A team from Arlington placed second, and Tates Creek Elementary was third.
Participating schools are divided into three regions, and regional tournaments were held this month to determine which teams would advance to the Superintendent’s Cup.
The goal of the competition is to stress the importance of education and help close the achievement gap by getting kids excited about academics, the district said in a news release.
“It is incredible when you think about 1,300 elementary students participating in the Academic Challenge this year,” Superintendent Manny Caulk told those in attendance at the finals.
Meher Saini, a fourth-grader at Tates Creek Elementary, has been participating in Academic Challenge since she was in second grade.
“I like how they teach different subjects, and you also can learn new things,” she said, adding that she also likes working as part of a team.
In addition to the team competitions, individual awards were given in the areas of writing, and math and science.
Fourth-grade writing winners were Jonathan Callahan of Veterans Park; Emily Hall, Athens-Chilesburg; Hailee Russell, Dixie; Meher Saini, Tates Creek; Emily Fabian, Cardinal Valley; and Gabriella Cortes, Northern.
Fifth-grade writing winners were Olivia Sparks of Cassidy; Evan Covert, Liberty; Layan Hnoosh, Julius Marks; Christain Turner, Tates Creek; Ahnaf Ahmed, Harrison; and Destiny Eversole, Cardinal Valley.
The following fifth-grade students were honored in math and science: Matthew Kotter, Veterans Park; John Huff, Athens-Chilesburg; Nayoung Kim, Julius Marks; Derek Hollifield, Dixie; Alex Halliday, Arlington; and Lorna Ashby, Northern.
Scholarships were awarded from several regional universities.
“Being new to Fayette County, I’m really blown away to see so many colleges and universities investing in our students at such a young age,” said Caulk, who became superintendent last summer. “Before they even finish elementary school, these students will have their college tuition paid for.”