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Eastern Panhandle students advance to national mathematics competition

April 28, 2013
  • Jim Park, left, a junior at Jefferson High School in Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., and Robert Zollinger, a senior at Martinsburg (W.Va.) High School, placed among the top 15 students in grades 10 to 12 at the 39th annual West Virginia State Mathematics Field Day. They earned the right Saturday to compete in a national mathematics competition in June.
Photo by Meg H. Partington

INSTITUTE, W.Va. — Two Eastern Panhandle high school students earned the right Saturday to compete in a national mathematics competition in June.

Robert Zollinger, a senior at Martinsburg (W.Va.) High School, and Jim Park, a junior at Jefferson High School in Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., placed among the top 15 students in grades 10 to 12 at the 39th annual West Virginia State Mathematics Field Day, held Saturday at West Virginia State University in Institute.

Robert placed second in the state competition and will be making his second trek to the American Regions Mathematics League, or ARML, competition, set for June 1 at Penn State. He said his visit there last year was “really nerve-racking,” but fun.

At Saturday’s competition, he won $50 for his second-place finish and for being named the most beneficial team member in the regional team segment of the state event.

Jim placed ninth at the state competition, in which he also competed his freshman year.

“I’m happy. I’m really happy, actually,” Jim said.

More than 200 students in grades four to 12 from schools in each of the state’s eight Regional Educational Service Agencies competed in the state math field day. Three students representing each region in grades four to nine participated, as did 10 students representing their regions in the grade 10 to 12 category.

Also placing from the Eastern Panhandle in the Saturday event were:

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  • Nina Saluja, a student at Potomack Intermediate School in Martinsburg, who placed first among the fourth-grade competitors. She won $25.
  • Jessica Hammersla of Martinsburg North Middle School, who placed third among the eighth-grade competitors. Saturday marked her fourth appearance at the state math meet.


Winners in grades four to nine do not advance to a national competition.

The state event was sponsored in part by the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium and the West Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

The activities in grades four to nine included a written test, mental math activities, relays and estimation activities that were computational and physical in nature. The mathematics faculty at West Virginia State University prepared the activities for grades 10 to 12, which included an exam and short-answer questions — individual events — and RESA team competitions including relays and team questions.

The Eastern Panhandle students represented RESA 8, which includes Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral, Morgan and Pendleton counties.

— Meg H. Partington

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