Algebra may be a high-school level class, but middle school students at Summit School of Ahwatukee seem to thrive in advanced coursework.
This year seventh grader Emma Lee earned the highest score in the state on the Arizona Association of Teachers of Mathematics annual state-wide algebra competition.
Emma shares Summit’s renown with an impressive contingent of students from Tempe/West Chandler neighborhoods, a number that surpassed the 14 percent mark during the school year that just ended, according to school officials.
Emma’s Summit School math classmates also excelled. Mayari Merchant tied for the fourth highest state score.
Elena D’Avanzo and Eric Wilda placed in the top 10 percent of all Arizona students taking the exam.
Their teacher, Christy Menard, said she was thrilled but not surprised.
This is the fifth year that Menard’s students have placed in the top 10 percent, or in the top four state scores.
“My students have an amazing aptitude and attitude about learning and excelling,” said Menard. “They are wonderful young adults who love the challenge, are respectful and collaborate to support each other to be the best they can in and out of class. They make my job as their teacher extremely fun and rewarding.”
Student Mayari Merchant agrees:
“My friends and I have such a healthy competition betwixt us that we push each other beyond what we think we are capable of.”
D’Avanzo credits her teacher and classmates, “I have always loved math but Mrs. Menard helped to expand my love for the subject and enrich my learning. Having a class filled with caring friends inspires me to better myself and encourage others.”
And what does Arizona’s first-place recipient think?
“Math class with Mrs. Menard is a place where all students can interact with each other, and get to explore new ways to get to the solution, explains Emma Lee with a warm smile.
“Friends like Mayari, Elena, Eric and all my classmates at Summit will be with you all the way, until you can solve for “x.” — Kathy Konrad