Highland Park High School’s Math and Science team earned the first-place Sweepstakes Award at the Texas Math and Science Coaches Association (TMSCA) State Meet in San Antonio.
Highland Park bested 25 other teams at the competition March 18 to win the 5A Championship and the top spot in Math, Science, and Number Sense.
“For the TMSCA competition, this has definitely been our golden year,” said coach Charles Tillerson. “It just goes to show that Highland Park is not your standard curriculum.”
Though the students competed as a team, they worked on their own during the meets, completing timed tests based on their specialty. Many team members took home individual awards.
“Being a part of this team has been a mental workout for four years,” senior Robert Luo said. “To win as a team and place first as an individual during my senior year is very gratifying.”
With each student bringing a different level of understanding to topics such as physics and chemistry or calculus and number sense, team practices make for a collaborative learning environment.
“Seeing how these kids interact with each other definitely makes them stand out,” science coach Wenzen Chuang said. “They’ve found this niche where they can have their competitive juices flowing while still helping others succeed.”
Team members practice weekly to sharpen their skills for the frequent meets, which they attend each month.
“I love being a part of a team that shares a passion for academic contests like I do,” said senior Sandra Kong, who has been competing since sixth grade. “We want to do the best we can not just for ourselves, but for the school as well.”
Many of the students found their passion for math and science early on by competing in similar meets during middle school.
While being on the team offers up opportunities to face challenges and competitions, the biggest takeaway for these students is the prep it provides for when they head off to college. The rigor of the Highland Park curriculum mixed with the college-level questions they tackle each week is already giving students an edge as they prepare for life after high school.
“Being exposed to university-level subjects is helping us create the habits we’ll need to be successful in college,” Luo said.
As for what’s next for the team members, many will continue their education over the summer in math and science camps, while graduating seniors will be heading off to college in hopes of pursuing careers as mathematicians, professors, and doctors.