Four middle school students from Nebraska have worked out thousands of mathematical problems and have spent hours poring over figures, all in an effort to dive into the intense competition of the national MathCounts competition in Florida next week.
Gov. Dave Heineman honored the four, two from Lincoln and two from Omaha, during a news conference in his office this morning.
They are led by their coach, Lux Middle School and Lincoln Each High School teacher Leona Penner.
“We begin practicing in about October, after school, and then we continue and it does get pretty intense as the competitions near,” Penner said.
The national competition will be held May 10-13, in Orlando, FL. The 2012 Nebraska MathCounts Champions are: from Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School is Derek Chew; from Hazel Scott Middle School is Jae Hyun Lim; from St. Vincent DePaul School is Don Nguyen and Lux Middle School is Madison Weber.
Penner said the students have combined raw talent with hard work.
“They are very intelligent students, but they didn’t get here just because they’re intelligent. They have practiced and practiced and practiced,” according to Penner.
More than 650 students entered the competition in Nebraska in February; 72 advanced to finals in March; four emerged as state champions. The national competition features 224 students from throughout the United States.