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Five San Miguel Children to Participate in National Math Contest

By Tania Noriz and Sandra Ríos

Five children, proud members of La Biblioteca, could be part of the Mexican contingent that will participate in the River Plate Math Olympics to be held in December in Argentina.

Last May, students Judith Vázquez Salinas, Julissa Nolasco Olvera, Alejandro Murillo Gómez, and Valeria Godínez Guerrero represented the State of Guanajuato in the Mathematics Spring Competition and the Comptencia Cotorra de Matemáticas, both organized by the Mexican Academy of Sciences in Mexico City.

The elementary and middle school children belong to the Saturday mathematics class by engineer Gerardo Chagoyán Silva, which takes place in La Biblioteca.

“Since 2010 we have been requesting that San Miguel de Allende enter in these two contests. Both are divided into three phases. In the first two phases, participants take the tests in their cities; these tests are conducted by the UNAM. Those who pass these assessments go to Mexico City to take another test, and subsequently, of the first 10 places of each level, they select the six best to participate in the River Plate Math Olympics, representing Mexico,” explained Chagoyán.

The examination took place on May 23 on the premises of the Faculty of Chemistry of the UNAM, for the tie in math at the national level.

“We are proud that these kids are participating in such contests, demonstrating the skills of the San Miguel children and youth,” said Juan Manuel Fajardo, director of Education and Scholarships of La Biblioteca, which supported the students with travel fare, accommodations, food, and transport so they could take the test in Mexico City.

Fajardo also reported that beginning this year, La Biblioteca was registered as a venue for the mathematics contest playoffs that serve as a filter to select the students who will participate in the national final. “This is an example of what La Biblioteca supports through its educational programs for the children and youth of San Miguel,” Fajardo said.

Eduardo Sánchez, who is in charge of the Children’s Sala of La Biblioteca, commented that at La Biblioteca everybody was excited with the news, “they were the only children in the State of Guanajuato passing the exam. I would like to congratulate them and Mr. Chagoyán for achieving this goal, for their effort, dedication, and perseverance.”

Meet the students

Judith Vázquez Salinas is a 13-year-old young lady who is a student in the Fuego Nuevo middle school. She said, “I felt the exam was a little bit easy; the trip was very good, and we visited a few places to take advantage of the trip. I wanted to enter this contest to see which level I am in relation to other children.”

Julissa Nolasco Olvera, also 13 years old and a student from Fuego Nuevo, said, “I entered this contest because I received an invitation from my school that was directed to the children who would like to participate, and so I took the test and they chose the most prominent. After that, we took math classes at La Biblioteca with teacher Chagoyán every day during three weeks, until we took the exam in DF. In UNAM I felt a little nervous because I saw many children that were doing good. The exam was a bit easy and a bit difficult at the same time.”

10-year-old Alejandro Murillo Gómez is the youngest of the group. He attends the Francisco Villa elementary school, “I was a little nervous there at the UNAM; it took me about an hour and a half to solve the exam and I think it was more or less difficult. We stayed in Mexico City for two days and visited Bellas Artes, the Zocalo, and the Cathedral.”

From Heroínas Insurgentes school, 12-year-old Valeria Godínez Guerrero said that when she went to take the test at the UNAM it was a proud moment. “In addition, our schools and our parents supported us a lot. I liked to go to visit many places in the city; the place I liked the most was Bellas Artes. I like math a lot, even when I learned fractions. The director of my school talked about the math classes at La Biblioteca, and my dad took me and I had the opportunity to compete.”

The UNAM will announce the results of the contest in the middle of June.

The Comptencia Cotorra de Matemáticas started in 1998, for children between 10 and 12 years old. Only 10 percent of the contestants participate in the second stage. Of those, the best are selected for the third stage, which is the Mathematics Olympics held in May.

The first 10 places of every level of both contests (the Mathematics Spring Competition and the Comptencia Cotorra de Matemáticas) will be selected as the six students to participate in the Math Olympics in Argentina.


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