Bray Park students win prestigious maths competition

Published 12:45pm 2 June 2022

Bray Park students win prestigious maths competition
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

Four math geniuses from Bray Park State School have been crowned the winners of a prestigious mathematics competition, beating hundreds of other students from across the country.

Students Haakon Smith, Gierant Roe, Marius Foronda and Luke Cameron received the Outstanding Achievement award from the Australian judging panel at this year’s ACER International Mathematics Competition – a competition where teams of four put their heads together to solve a real-life situation using mathematics modelling.

This year’s problem involved developing a solution to reduce boarding times on airplanes. Each team were given the same problem which they had to hypothesise, test and develop a working solution, before preparing and submitting a report on their solution to the Australian judging panel.

Bray Park’s submission, along Victoria’s Caulfield Grammar School, who received the Meritorious Achievement Award, will now represent Australia on a global scale.

Bray Park State High School principal Peter Turner said he and the school community were extremely proud of the boys.

“I’m so proud of the boy’s achievement in this Australia wide competition,” he said.

“It’s great to see Bray Park on the top of such a prestigious competition with schools, private and state, from all over Australia.

“They have worked so hard to produce a ‘Braymazing’ solution to a complex maths problem.”

Bray Park students win prestigious maths competition

A win three years in the making

The students started preparing for this competition back in 2019, when they were in year 9.

Their team advisor Stephanie Lurie worked with them by using sample problems and studying the process of mathematical modelling.

The following year, two members of the current team achieved National Finalist status.

In 2021, they submitted a paper but did not achieve a ranking.

This year, they jumped from National Finalist, over Honourable Mention and Meritorious Achievement, to Outstanding Achievement – the highest honour available in the competition.

Stephanie said “I feel incredibly proud to see their dedication and commitment to mathematics over this time has been recognised in the most honourable way”.

“Each year the students would hope for a Meritorious Achievement, and this year they surpassed that.

“We now eagerly await the results of the International Round.”

Judging for the International Round will take place this month.

The boys’ senior maths teacher Wayne Munro also played a significant role in challenging their mathematical understandings and problem-solving skills over the years.

“I’ve often been unsettled at the thought that perhaps these students have a greater aptitude for mathematics than me. This competition confirms it… they do!”

COVID couldn’t stop them from winning

During the competition, the boys spent five days, and some very long nights, working on their solution to the problem.

They were booked into a conference room for a week, and only surfaced occasionally to get coffee and food from the school’s tuckshop.

The team were faced with a hurdle when one person had to isolate at home with COVID, but they faced this issue by communicating over Zoom.

So, what do the boys think of their win and the competition in general?

Team leader Haakon said “the ability to have time to freely think and explore undoubtedly contributed to our success”.

Marius said “solving a problem isn’t the same as answering a question. A question is simple. Solving a problem is addictive”.

Gierant said “the simplest solution is not always the best. The simplest solution that fits the prescribed criteria is always the best”.

Luke said “the largest hurdle faced during the project was the three-minute seizure faced after the full 50-page appendix was released”.


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