Math Is Cool

Posted: April 20, 2017

On May 20, just one month from today, several of our fifth-grade Math Is Cool teams will be headed to the Masters competition at Moses Lake High School​ after tremendous showings in Vancouver last month alongside nearly 250 mathletes from SW Washington and NW Oregon.

It’s the first time we’ve ever had team qualifiers, let alone so many of them! Grass Valley Elementary​, Prune Hill Elementary School​, Dorothy Fox​, Helen Baller Elementary School​ and Lacamas Heights Elementary​ achieved qualifying scores.

The following students were recognized for their individual high scores:


– Halina Sosnowski, Grass Valley Elementary School – Coached by Betty Dietzen


– Conrad Parrish, Woodburn Elementary School​ – Coached by Melissa Wang & Nicole Hanley

– Heather Wu, Prune Hill Elementary – Coached by Jillmarie Holscher

– Anna Mansur, Prune Hill Elementary – Coached by Jillmarie Holscher

– Vincent Li, Dorothy Fox Elementary – Coached by Andrew Miller

– Sawyer Lesser, Lacamas Heights Elementary – Coached by Lois Williams

– Audrey Wagner, Helen Baller Elementary – Coached by Diane Hanawalt & Scott Bristol


– Conrad Parrish, WBE, 6th
– Vincent Li, DFE, 2nd
– Audrey Wagner, HBE, 5th
– Nhan Troung, HBE, 7th

According to the organization’s website, “Academics are Cool” began in the spring of 1996 when Gregg Sampson, a mathematics teacher at Lewis & Clark High School (LCHS), organized a mathematics competition for sixth grade students in the Spokane area. He and members of the LCHS Math Team organized the events, wrote the competition items and implemented the competition at LCHS. The following school year (1996/1997), the competition was expanded to grades 4–12 with grade level competitions held on six dates throughout the school year at LCHS. During the same school year, Triscia Hochstatter, a mathematics teacher at Moses Lake High School (MLHS), organized a grade four and five combined “Math is Cool” competition in Moses Lake. Subsequently, “Math is Cool” competitions were held in Seattle beginning with the 1998/1999 school year conducted by Gregg Sampson and Sean Ahern, a University of Washington student and LCHS alumnus. In 2002 Tom Tosch took over as the Seattle Regional Director. Starting with the 2005/2006 school year, Wenatchee High School will begin hosting 4–6th grade competitions.

“Math is Cool” competitions include both individual and team events. Individual events include completion of open-ended and multiple choice problem sets. Team events include open-ended problem sets, relays, pressure rounds, mental math and college bowl rounds.

To get an idea of what the competitions are like, you can View the Rules