Hey now, he's a Trig Star

Smithsburg senior wins mathematics competition

July 03, 2010|By HEATHER LOWERY
  • Daniel Ridenour says that winning the National Society of Professional Surveyors' (NSPS) Trig Star Program contest for Washington County and Smithsburg High School was a thrilling experience.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer,

SMITHSBURG - Daniel Ridenour recently won the National Society of Professional Surveyors' (NSPS) Trig Star Program contest for Washington County and Smithsburg High School.

Daniel, who will be a senior at Smithsburg High in the fall, won $550 in the Trig Star competition.

According to NSPS's website, Trig Star is an annual high school mathematics competition sponsored by NSPS and based on the practical application of trigonometry. There are two contest levels, with level one the local high school test and level two the national test.

Jim Whitehead, NSPS Trig Star coordinator for Maryland, said there is one winner from each participating high school, one from each county, and one from each state. The state winners compete for the National Trig Star title.

"Trig Star is a National Test performed across all 50 states. Maryland is in the top one or two states based on school involvement and the number of students tested," he said.


Whitehead said hundreds of students take the test in Maryland. Since Maryland has 23 counties and Baltimore City, Daniel finished in the top 24.

Daniel said he does not have definitive plans for how the money will be spent, but said it is in a safe spot.

"Right now, it's just in savings, it will probably eventually go toward college," he said.

For Daniel, winning the competition was a thrilling experience.

"I was pretty surprised and pretty excited because when I took this test I had just gotten back from Disney World because of band and I was so tired. I had to take the test the next day," he said.

Daniel attributed his accomplishment to his teachers.

"I think it says a lot about the teachers at Smithsburg. The fact that I was so tired and still won, it says a lot about them," he said.

Months later, Daniel is still enthusiastic about the win, but he has no plans to rush into school work any time soon.

"I was glad I won it and I think it's a great program," said Daniel. "I probably will take it next year, but I haven't thought about it yet."

"Daniel is an outstanding math student. He enjoys learning new math concepts and is able to relate them to other courses such as physics and chemistry," said Brenda Horning, his math teacher at Smithsburg High School.

"Daniel displays excellent critical thinking and problem-solving skills. I am not surprised that he did so well on the Trig Star test," she said.

Horning encouraged all of her students to take the test.

"Our math teacher pushed for us all to take the test and we took it. It was something that she found out about from her supervisor," Daniel said.

Daniel said he knows that his parents, Harold and Peggy Ridenour, are proud of the win, but they are also proud of him.

"They were very proud of me and they of course were happy because it says a lot about me as a student. It said a lot academically, and they were happy I won a prize too, because that never hurts," he said.

Following is a list of the other high school winners in Washington County:

Jessica Taylor, North Hagerstown High School

Tiffany Younker, Hancock High School

Alex Brogaard, South Hagerstown High School

Alexa Mills, Clear Spring High School

Elizabeth Leizear, Boonsboro High School

Zachary Messersmith, Williamsport High School

Ivan Zanko, Washington County Technical High School

More information about the Trig Star competition can be found at

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