The Indian Creek Middle School math team accomplished something no other Newton County School system middle school has accomplished before.
The team finished in third place in the Griffin RESA Regional Middle School Math Contest on Jan. 28.
The team consisting of eighth-graders, Ian Kennedy, Logan Putnam, Valente Rangel, Jarred Seals and Garrett Wells, and seventh-grader Van Nipper, was coached by Priscilla Waters.
“Going into the event, we knew we were stacked up against some of the best schools in our district that traditionally receive first, second, and third place every year,” Waters said. “When we started practicing for the competition, I told them to not be disappointed if we did not win.”
The team competed against schools from Butts, Fayette, Henry, Lamar, Pike, Spalding and Upson counties, along with Cousins Middle School, Veterans Memorial Middle School and Newton County Theme School.
“We were in the hardest division since we are considered a large district,” Putnam said. “It felt really good to be able to come in third place amongst the other schools in our division.”
The team practiced after school one day a week for five weeks, in order to prepare for the competition.
“In reality, it was not a lot of time to practice.” Waters said. “They are so involved in other things in the school, that it was hard to get them to all be available to practice for this. It makes what they did even more profound. I didn’t want them to think any less of themselves based on whether or not we placed. They immediately told me that they were determined to place and worked hard every practice to do so. Their hard work paid off, and I was so proud of them.”
At the competition, each student had to complete a 50-question multiple choice test in one hour along with a 20-question team ciphering event.
“I felt like the multiple choice questions were a lot easier than the ones we practiced with,” Wells said. “By practicing, we were able to be prepared for what was given to us.”
The favorite part of the contest for each student was the ciphering event.
“We had 20-word problems given to us and had to answer each question in less than three minutes,” Kennedy said. “You gained more points if you answered it sooner rather than later. The event gave us the opportunity to work together as a team. It was a lot of fun.”
On Feb. 9, the Board of Education recognized the Math team at their monthly work meeting. Valente was among his peers who were called to come before the board to receive a certificate for their hard work.
“It was amazing, Valente said. “When we found out that we were the first team to place at a math competition, we were all proud of ourselves.”
Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey was the first to congratulate them on their success.
“I will not be surprised next year when they bring home the first-place trophy,” Fuhrey said.