Central Middle School 7th Grader Takes First Place at MathCounts Competition

sam and Valerie

Sam Florin and his Central Middle School math teacher, Valerie Palace.

Sam Florin, a 7th grader at Central Middle School took first place as an individual at the  MathCounts Southwest Connecticut Chapter Competition on Saturday at Fairfield University.

In an interview with Greenwich Free Press on Sunday, Sam, who is 12, described the experience.

“It was a little scary,” he said. “But I like problem solving better than text book math.”

He explained that in the competition it was possible to win as an individual or as part of a team. The team from Central has four students, though only three of them traveled to Fairfield University on Saturday.

Coached by CMS math teacher Valerie Palace,the math team meets Mondays after school. Sam, who has a 10-year-old sister and a 6-year-old brother, said that outside of school, he is an avid tennis player, but he finds ways to enjoy math enrichment in his free time. This summer he is looking forward to spending three weeks at “Awesome Math Camp” at Cornell.

The contest, which Sam said includes written tests like in a classroom, also included head-to-head competition with elimination rounds that pitted Sam against 6th 7th and 8th graders.

Sam said he is taking Algebra II online through Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, and also enjoys challenging himself through a website called Art of Problem Solving.

Next year, as an 8th grader at CMS he will go to Greenwich High School to take Pre-Calculus with 9th graders.

Having taken first place at MathCounts this weekend, Sam is excited to travel to University of Hartford next month for the state competition for the second year in a row.

Congratulations, Sam!  We’ll be following your progress!


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Email news tips to Greenwich Free Press editor Leslie.Yager@GreenwichFreePress.com
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