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Grade 8 student competes at senior level

Math wiz!
Posted on 04/26/2022
Henry Lalman

In Grade 8 math classes, students are typically learning about how to calculate square roots, fractions and the differences between rational and irrational numbers.

Besides all of those things, Henry Lalman is also getting a leg up on algebra, calculus and advanced geometry - subjects that are normally taught in Grade 12.

A Grade 8 student at Notre Dame Catholic Elementary School who is currently learning virtually with a class from H.J. Lassaline Catholic Elementary School, Henry recently wrote the Euclid Mathematics Contest through the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing at the University of Waterloo.

Written by more than 19,000 students worldwide, the contest gives senior level secondary students the chance to tackle novel mathematics problems with all the knowledge they’ve gained in high school. Although not an entrance requirement, the University of Waterloo does recommend that applicants to their math department write the test in order to become eligible for scholarships. A representative from the school said that it's extremely rare for an elementary student to write the test.

“My teacher gave me some math websites to look at, and once I started studying it I became comfortable with the topics,” said Henry, who wrote the test on April 3. “The questions are actually quite challenging but once I started spending some time trying to answer them, they started to become a little easier to solve.”

Regardless of how he performed on the test, Kimberly Hillier, Henry’s virtual teacher at H.J. Lassaline Catholic Elementary School, said his classmates were all extremely impressed by his abilities and willingness to take on such a difficult challenge.

“He is an incredibly dedicated, driven, and humble student,” she said. “By seizing the opportunity to participate in the Euclid math contest, he demonstrated his strong ability to work through challenging math problems and apply various strategies he’s mastered over the years. His participation has also inspired many of his classmates to participate in the 2022 Gauss Contest through the University of Waterloo. We are so proud of him!”

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