SECOND PG COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP
Posted June 12, 2015
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The cheers, whistles and applause that celebrated the winners of the 2nd NBA Math Hoops Tournament in Prince George’s County May 2, ricocheted through vintage airplanes, ancient propellers and a host of aviation artifacts at the College Park Aviation Museum.
While the unusual venue delighted and entertained visitors, six middle school students representing From the Heart Christian School in Suitland and two from Kenmoor Middle School in Hyattsville stayed focused and took home the top prizes.
Gerard Charles, 14, and Kiera Edwards, 13, both eighth graders at From the Heart won first place and claimed the coveted crystal trophies. Seventh graders Nia Lowery and Lauren Banks were awarded watches when they came in second.
Nick Monzi, Director of Programs at Learn Fresh, said that the Prince George’s County tournament “was one of the strongest competitions of its kind in the country.”
“The students were highly competitive and there was a noted improvement in their math proficiency from tournament time last year,” said Monzi, noting that Prince George’s County’s tournament was the fifth of seven to be held this year.
Kiera said she is still in disbelief about the victory but proudly admires the trophy in her bedroom.
“It was surprising for me,” she said, explaining she had not played NBA Math Hoops much with Gerard during the Friday after school math club meetings.
Also, Kiera admitted, “I have a love-hate relationship with math. Sometimes it’s challenging. But I do appreciate it.”
The championship round was Nia’s favorite part “because it really pushed me to work hard and I was excited that I made it so far.”
Michael Diaz and Aujanai Gardner of Kenmoor Middle won third place with Danielle Whittington and Matthew A. Miller, also of From the Heart, claiming fourth place. In addition to the school site, Aujanai also represented a new club that recently started at the Glenreed Community Center in GlenArden.
Teacher and club sponsor Andre Stith said his Allenwood Elementary School students left the tournament determined to return next year to bring home a trophy. Stith said his students enjoyed participating and showed great sportsmanship.
“They stayed on task,” said Stith. “It took them a minute to develop a strategy but once they got the strategy down, they were good to go. They did all this on their own. They said, ‘we’ll get it next time.’ “
Monzi said that NBA Math Hoops is running a total of seven tournaments this year, working in partnership with education organizations in Boston, Cleveland, Oakland, Denver, San Francisco, as well as Maryland and New York.
Many of the Maryland NBA Math Hoops Clubs are managed by college students attending the University of Maryland, College Park; Prince George Community College, Largo; and Howard University, Washington, D.C. And, two freshman high school students jointly manage their former middle school club.
“It was impressive to see the commitment of the high school and college volunteers who have been working with the program,” said Monzi. “Their rapport that they developed with the students was also very evident.
“We’re excited to continue our work in the region, as we continue to grow with Scholastic Olympics in PG County and introduce the program to a number of after school sites in DC Public Schools in fall 2015,” he added.