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Middle School Math Mavens Prove Their Mettle in Raytheon Contests

Middle schoolers across the country just received a boost to their summer camp or college funds. Raytheon has paid out 150 $1,000 scholarships to just as many students who submitted winning multimedia presentations showing why math is important in their world. The entries from sixth, seventh and eighth graders were judged on creativity, originality, time spent making the project and the use of math equations to show their enthusiasm for the topic. Students may use their winnings for a math, science or technology camp or program or save it for college.

Winners of the MathMovesU competition came from St. Joseph School in Wakefield, MA; Casimir Middle School in Torrance, CA; and some 148 other schools in between. The schools attended by those students also received $1,000 prizes, bringing the total payout to $300,000.

"Encouraging middle school students to study math and science is important to ensuring they continue on to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering or math," said Pamela Erickson, Raytheon's vice president of corporate affairs. "The MathMovesU scholarship and grant program is one example of Raytheon's commitment to encourage and support students as they pursue their education in a STEM-related field."

But it isn't the only commitment. This weekend the company will be hosting a gathering of 224 bright junior high students — "Mathletes" — for the MathCounts national competition. According to the company, competitors include one student who co-invented a bionic glove for finger amputees, another who's the Vermont state spelling champion and a third who's a state champ in chess. These participants and the others have proven their abilities out of the 100,000 students who have participated in local and state-level competitions.

ESPN3 will be webcasting live coverage of the "Countdown Round," on Friday, May 9 at 2 p.m. Eastern time.

On Saturday, May 10 all 224 students will also pick the final winners in a Raytheon-hosted Math Video Challenge, a program to encourage middle schoolers to create original videos demonstrating a real-world application of a math concept. An online voting process winnowed the entries down to four finalists, from which the Mathletes will choose.

The national champion of the video contest will receive a $20,000 college scholarship and a trip to United States Space Camp in Huntsville, AL. Runners up will also receive college scholarships.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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