Math contest marks 25 years

Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus will host nearly 90 students from 15 schools

In a game of numbers, 25 holds particular significance for Okanagan College math professor Clint Lee.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the B.C. Secondary School Mathematics Contest, founded and chaired by Lee since its inception in 1990 and hosted at Okanagan College.

“I could have retired last year from the  college, but I wanted to hang on for just one more year specifically to see the math contest to this important milestone,” said Lee, who is announcing his retirement after 25 years of teaching at the college.

“It’s a highlight of my career, to know that thousands of students were engaged in mathematics over the course of 25 years, some of whom as a result were inspired to continue their studies at the post-secondary level to become scientists, doctors, and even professors.”

Today, Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus will host nearly 90 of the brightest high school mathematicians from 15 schools in the region for the annual contest.

Competing in either of two categories – juniors (Grade 8 to 10) and seniors (Grade 11 and 12) – students have the morning to complete multiple choice and long hand questions that will test their logic and mathematical skills.

Adding a level of challenge is the fact that no calculators are allowed.

At an afternoon awards ceremony, the top senior student will be awarded a one-semester tuition scholarship to either Okanagan College or UBC Okanagan (co-sponsor of the contest), to a maximum value of $3,000. Top finishers in each category also earn prizes ranging from $50 to $200.

“It’s important for students to have an opportunity to be recognized for their achievements in math, and to see the community engage in the conversation,” said Lee.