MathCats are 2023 ICTM State Finals bound

All 20 Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart participants in both team and individual events at this year’s Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ (ICTM) Contest are State Finals qualifiers. Overall, the all-girls college-preparatory high school from Lake Forest placed third in Division 1A at the 2023 ICTM Region 20 Competition held at Niles West High School in Skokie Feb. 25.

Based on the strength of their third-place overall finish at the regional level, Woodlands Academy’s MathCats have advanced to the April 22 State Finals at Illinois State University in Normal. Regional competition highlights include a first-place finish by sophomore Hannah Burke in the Algebra 2 individual event. Seniors Anne Kelly and Sophia Gammel tied for third place in the Precalculus individual competition while freshmen Maya Whiteman and Maggie Glunz tied for fourth in Algebra 1 and junior Abby Hironimus placed fifth in Algebra 2. Freshman Chloe Mensah finished in seventh place in Algebra 1 as did junior Aanya Sahu in Precalculus.

In the team events, Woodlands’ MathCats joined forces to make strong showings at the regional level. Second-place honors were won in Algebra 1 by Gabby Babinski, Maggie Glunz, Chloe Mensah, Emmy Seliga, Maya Whiteman, and Janicel Otero; in Precalculus by Sophia Gammel, Anne Kelly, Gianna Keuer, Aanya Sahu and Judith Koukol; in Junior/Senior 2-person by Aanya Sahu and Sophia Gammel; and in Oral by Hannah Burke and Anne Kelly.

Meanwhile, the school’s Algebra 2 team of Hannah Burke, Lauren Janos, Abby Hironimus and Gracie Jennings, and its Junior/Senior 8-person team of Gianna Keuer, Aanya Sahu, Judith Koukol, Abby Hironimus, Sophia Gammel, Anne Kelly, Gracie Jennings and Hannah Burke finished third at the Niles West regional competition.

Woodlands Academy Principal Rocco Gargiulo, who also had taught math classes there prior to this year, offered congratulations. “This wonderful news really confirms Woodlands’ commitment to STEM education. It also acknowledges the dedication of MathCats co-coordinators Shao-Yun Guo, Courtney Pomije and Dr. Valerie Rickert and our entire math department to leading our outstanding girls along the way to becoming empowered young women.”

Rickert added, “Our students were excited about this year’s event and worked together as a cohesive group. They encouraged each other and learned a lot.”

According to organizers, the purpose of the ICTM State Math Contest is to recognize outstanding mathematical achievement, encourage independent study, stimulate interest in mathematics, and provide a wholesome meeting ground for students and teachers of mathematics through academic competition. It has been an annual event since 1980.