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6/14/96

CONTACT: Stanford University News Service (415) 723-2558


Bay Area high school students win national math contest

STANFORD --A team from the San Francisco Bay Area won the nation's most prestigious annual math competition for high school students for the first time this year. Their victory on June 1 also marked the first time a team from west of the Mississippi has won the
21-year-old American Regions Mathematics League (ARML) competition.

The winning Bay Area "A" team was among three teams organized by the Education Program for Gifted Youth at Stanford University to compete in the June 1 contest. The teams drew 47 students from 22 schools in an area ranging from Lafayette in the north to Stockton in the east and Santa Cruz in the south. (See the list of schools at the end of this release.) The Bay Area B team placed sixth in the B-level division of the competition, winning the Western regional B division title.

Individual honors were won by Lorentz Shyu, from Lynbrook High School in San Jose, one of only two students in the nation to get a perfect score on the individual round of the competition, and Chris Chang and Kai Huang, both of Gunn High School in Palo Alto, who were two of a dozen students to answer all but one question correctly in the individual round.

New York City, whose "A" team placed second in this year's contest, had won the previous two years and nearly a dozen times since the contest began.

"The Bay Area has always had a lot of math talent, but this has gone unnoticed nationally due to a lack of organization," said Ted Alper, mathematics instructor at the Education Program for Gifted Youth(EPGY). The Stanford program offers computer-based mathematics courses to advanced students who wish to accelerate their mathematics education. Alper served as the head coach of the Bay Area teams entering the competition.

"Our work at EPGY has brought us into contact with these students," Alper said. "When we discovered that no one else was bothering to put together an ARML team for them ­previous teams had been student organized ­ we felt naturally positioned to fill the gap. We were able to locate the best students at each school, get them together for practices and teach them what little they did not already know."

EPGY's Joshua Zucker, assistant coach, said that "the really great thing about ARML is that it lets bright mathematics kids know that there are other kids out there like them, and not only that but it gets them working together on challenging math problems."

Excitement over ARML is spreading in California, the Bay Area coaches said. While there was only one team for the entire state in 1993, there were seven California teams this year, and plans call for at least two more next year.

The American Regions Mathematics League was organized two decades ago to provide a national competition for the brightest mathematical minds in the nation's high schools. Teams are generally organized on the state level, but some counties and cities, such as New York and Chicago, send their own teams. The competition is held once a year concurrently at sites in Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Nevada. Students at the three sites compete at the same time to determine a national winner. This year more than 1,300 students participated on 89 teams. The awards ceremony is broadcast simultaneously at all three sites so that students can have the sense of competing against each other.

High schools attended by the Bay Area team members are:

Monta Vista High in Cupertino; Davis High in Davis; Acalanes High in Lafayette; Los Altos High in Los Altos; Mountain View High in Mountain View; College Preparatory in Oakland; Henry M. Gunn High and Palo Alto High in Palo Alto; Lowell High and French American International in San Francisco; Lynbrook High, San Jose High Academy, St. Martin of Tours and Bret Harte Middle School in San Jose; California High in San Ramon; Hyde Junior High in Santa Clara; Harbor High in Santa Cruz, Prospect High and Saratoga High in Saratoga, Lincoln in Stockton, and Fremont and King's Academy in Sunnyvale.

For more information on the Education Program for Gifted Youth at Stanford, see its home page on the World Wide Web at http://www-epgy.stanford.edu/epgy/ or write the program at Ventura Hall, Stanford University, Stanford CA 94305-4115. For information on American Regions Mathematics League, contact Ted Alper at e-mail address: alper@turing.stanford.edu.

-kpo-

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