Below is a guest post written by Dan Zaharopol, who is awesome. At the least, you’ll learn about something awesome he’s been working on, and at the very best, you might end up working with him!
When I was in middle school, I participated in a national math competition called MathCounts. In MathCounts, your school forms a team which participates at the local level. If you do well, you advance to the state level, and if you do really well, you advance to nationals. My school, a public high school in upstate New York, had about 350 students in each year, and about 5-10 in each year would have done decently well at the local level in MathCounts.
Last year, I ran a summer program for seventeen awesome kids from New York City. They all go to schools where 75% or more of the students receive free or reduced-price lunch. They were the best math students at their schools. And yet, although they were the best out of over 1000 seventh-graders, not one of them was really ready for MathCounts before the program.
These kids are talented kids who like doing math. Some of them love doing math. Their schools work really hard to help every student succeed, but they don’t have the resources that my school had to help the kids who can really do more. That’s where the Summer Program in Mathematical Problem Solving came in, giving the kids a full-on camp experience learning intense, deep mathematics. But now that the kids are done with the summer program, what will they do next?
This guest blog is a call to action. We’re looking for volunteer mentors who can meet with the kids every 1-2 weeks and talk to them about math and about the opportunities that they want to pursue. If you’re interested, please fill out this application and help these kids reach the next level.