PATERSON, NJ – The team from School 5/Don Bosco Academy pulled off an upset in last year’s Paterson’s Math Olympics, winning the championship after trailing for most of the competition.
This year, they won’t catch anyone by surprise as they emerged from Saturday’s semifinals in first place.
The finals shape up as a rematch among School 5/Don Bosco Academy, School 9 and Norman S. Weir.
“I think we are going to do better than last year,” said 14-year-old Janeen Slade, an eighth grader at Weir, who was also a part of the team the previous year.
“This time we have to get first,” said 13 year-old Jayla McDuffie, a Weir seventh grader, “except this time we have to get first.”
Suspense filled International High School’s auditorium on Saturday as the top six schools of Paterson competed in the semi-finals of the Math Olympics. Parents, teachers, and friends cheered on the Math Olympians as they all strived to move on to the final round.
As Week 3 of the competition came to a closing, the audience members were at the edge of their seats, anxiously awaiting the results.
“I feel very nervous,” replied Nancy Rivera, a parent from New Roberto Clemente School, when asked about her feelings. “I also feel proud that my son is able to participate in this competition.”
“I feel nervous for my classmates,” said 11-year-old Kathy Franco, the sixth grade alternate for School 18.
Not only the audience, but the Olympians, themselves, were very tense. “We felt nervous,” said 11-year-old Carmen Caraballo, a sixth grader in Weir. “We were like panicking.”
The suspense ended when former school board member Pedro Rodriguez announced the finalists. “This is great, to have a repeat,” said Rodriguez. “What are the chances of having the same three schools competing for the Math Olympics in the second year?”
“I feel appreciated!” smiled 14-year-old Gwenasia Bell, an eighth grader at Weir school, when asked how she felt seeing the supporters of NSW jump out of their seats as Rodriguez announced the school in third place.
Although only three schools were able to move onto the Finals, the members of the other three teams felt good about their performance.
“I wish we could’ve made it to the finals but if we didn’t make it, then we didn’t make it,” said 14-year-old Kevin Milfort, an eighth grader in New Roberto Clemente School. “I feel happy for those who did make it and wish them good luck.”
“I feel good, because to be in the top six was tough,” said Evelyn Sanchez as she proudly smiled at her son, Kevin, even though his school isn’t going to the finals.
Each school plans to come back stronger, whether it is next year or next week.
“I feel kind of sad that we didn’t make it to the finals, but we did make it to the semi-finals, which is good,” said 12-year-old Jahurul Alom, a seventh grader in School 7. “If nothing, we will make a comeback next year.”