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Discovery rates first, second places at Pizitz math meet

Discovery math teams celebrate after their wins at the Pizitz Middle School math tournament. (CONTRIBUTED)

More than 1,000 students at the Pizitz Middle School Math Tournament in Birmingham took note of outstanding performances by math teams from Discovery Middle School.

“Our seventh-grade team came in second place out of ten schools in the large-school division,” coach Julie Goldston said. “We were only 21 points behind first place.” Discovery also earned second place overall among 30 schools at the Pizitz contest on Feb. 2.

Seventh-graders in the Top Ten were Alan Grissom, second; Joseph Shi, third; and Shantanu Kadam, fourth. Other participants were Kim Dang, Misa Ito, Sean Lee, Brett Manis, Erin Martin, Jane Newberry, Kate Newberry, Chidubem Okafor, Grey Vandeberg and Melody Zhang.

From 10 schools in competition, Discovery’s eighth-graders rated first place. “We were also first place (among) 32 schools who brought eighth-grade teams,” Goldston said. In the Top Ten, Joey Li took first place with a perfect score and Winston Van was ninth. This team includes Jasmine Atassi, Mindy Foster, Amelia Goldston, Carsten Grove, Daniel Li, Tahseen Robbani, Tyler Tolbert, Ada VanderZijp-Tan and Jane Zhang.

Goldston, who teaches seventh-grade math, agreed to coach Discovery’s math team because she believes “students need an opportunity to excel in math beyond the regular curriculum. They are ready for it and need to be challenged.”

She wishes that her grade school had offered a math team. Coaching “is time-consuming, but I feel it’s what is best for these students. Teachers become teachers so they can have a positive impact on the students’ lives. I really feel like I am impacting their lives for the better by providing this opportunity for them.”

In addition, math team experiences help students perform well on standardized tests, like ACT and SAT, Goldston said. “If participating in math team can improve their scores, it also might improve their chances of earning a college scholarship. I sincerely feel that math team is helping to shape the future for many of these kids. They deserve that opportunity.”

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