Seven students from Pilot Point Middle School got a much-needed break from their regular routine and took a trip down to Alamo City on April 22 for the Texas Math and Science Coaches Association state competition.
Three students – eighth graders Nate Brown and Elijah Young and seventh grader Aiden Bickers – returned to Pilot Point with distinguished honors.
Out of the 3,000-plus students at the competition, the trio finished in the top 20 in math and science.
Brown finished second in mathematics and 20th in calculator. Young finished 12th in mathematics and Bickers placed 14th in science.
Each test determined problem-solving skills in subjects like algebra, number sense, biology and pre-calculus.
The math and science tests had a time limit of 40 minutes. The calculator test was 30 minutes and the number sense exam was 10.
TMSCA coach and eighth grade math teacher Sheri Woodall was proud of the three because of the sacrifices made in order to participate.
“We don’t have a class where we meet, so these guys come after school to practice. After athletics or a full day of class, they make time to learn even more,” Woodall said. “That speaks to how dedicated they are.”
Woodall said that each student had “nerves of steel” because of the maturity level they showed during the competition.
PPMS principal Robyn Leslie said she couldn’t think of seven students more qualified to represent the school at state.
“They are all top-notch, respectful kids,” Leslie said. “They’re young gentlemen that can do anything they set their mind to. I’m very proud to be their principal. I think they’re ready for high school, college and the real world. I admire them.”
Brown, who made his second trip to San Antonio this year, felt confident heading into the tests.
“Once you’ve been there, you feel more confident and there’s less awkwardness because you know where you’re going,” Brown said.
Brown wants to put academics on the map along with Pilot Point’s rich sports tradition.
“I think the more success that we have in this program, the more impact it will have on the sixth-graders coming up,” Brown said. “We have a presence in athletics and we can definitely establish a presence in academics.”
Bickers, who wants to be a commercial diver or an astrophysicist, attributes his 14th place finish to the extensive preparation.
“The study sessions during focus and after school definitely went a long way,” Bickers said.
Before the test, the students got to hang out at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and take their minds off equations and answer choices.
“I think the relaxation at Fiesta Texas got our minds off studying for a couple of hours, which was really good,” Bickers said.
This is Young’s second trip to the competition. Last year, Young finished first in mathematics.
“Twelfth place is OK, but since I won last year, I could’ve done better.”
Leslie believes TMSCA prepares students to meet the demands required of math and science majors.
“They’re going to use what they’re learning in almost every profession they go into,” Leslie said. “TMSCA prepares them for the rigor they’re going to face in high school or in college.”