SBU hosts more than 400 youth at math contests

BOLIVAR, Mo. — About 420 number-crunching students from southwest Missouri elementary and middle schools gathered at Southwest Baptist University on Oct. 27 for math contests hosted by the SBU Department of Mathematics.

The 20th annual event centered on mathematical competition with individual and team components that allowed students to demonstrate their mathematical and problem-solving skills.

“I know my students had a great time, and a positive math experience like that is worth so much,” said Becky Hendrickson of Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School, “…a wonderful contest for so many children.”

Of the 301 elementary students, 118 qualified for the next level, a regional qualifying round in the Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) contest. There will be a total of six regional competitions where the top 10 students in each grade level (by individual totals) and the top sweepstakes team will qualify to attend the state competition on May 4, 2019, at Columbia College. In the middle school contest, 36 of the 121 students competing advance to the MCTM competition on March 30 at The Barstow School in Kansas City.

“My son looks forward (the competitions) every year,” Erik Mitchell said. “I am not sure if I have ever seen my son as happy or surprised as he was when you called his name for first place in the Target Round.”

The competition field included fourth- through eighth-grade students from participating schools: Academy of Exploration, Bolivar Middle School, Carthage Junior High, Central Scholars (Springfield), Clever Elementary, Clever Middle School, David Harrison Elementary, Disney Elementary, Fordland Middle School, George Washington Carver Elementary (Neosho), Greenwood Laboratory School, Holy Family Homeschoolers, Lamar Middle School, Lewis and Clark Middle School, Marshfield, McBride Elementary, High Pointe Elementary (Nixa), John Thomas School of Discovery (Nixa), Neosho Junior High, Neosho Middle School, New Covenant Academy, Nixa Junior High, Osage Middle School, Osage Upper Elementary, Reed Academy, Rolla Middle School, Summit Intermediate (Nixa), The Barstow School, The Summit Preparatory School, Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School, Wanda Gray Elementary, Wheaton Elementary, Wheaton Middle School, Wilder Elementary and Wilson’s Creek.

“This was the 20th year for the math department to host some type of math contest at SBU,” said Dr. Kevin Hopkins, professor and chair of the SBU Department of Mathematics. “I am humbled to think of the opportunities God has given over these years to bring more than 13,000 students to the SBU campus to pursue their love of mathematics by participating in a contest. The excitement of the students and the gratitude of parents and teachers is what keeps the department continuing to host math contests.”

For students interested in more math-centered instruction and activities, registration is available for Math Contest Camps hosted this summer by Hopkins, for fifth- through 12th-grade students. To learn more about the contests and camps, please contact Hopkins at (417) 328-1675 or

For more information about Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics contests, visit

*Published: 11-14-18