By Dennis McCarthy, Columnist | LA Daily News “Odds and ends from Around the Valley”
Sixth-grader "mathletes" from Sutter Middle School are, from left to right first row: Sergio Mares, Xavier Escobar, Clarissa Olivar, Danielle Clarke, Alejandra Rojas. Back row: math coach Dana Rosenstock, Principal Michael Smith and teachers Michelle Weiss and Hasmik Mheryan. The sixth-graders won the Education League Divsional Championship and went on to win the National Championship.
06/04/2009 - There are a lot of proud, smiling faces on the campus of Sutter Middle School in Winnetka after the school's sixth-grade "mathletes" were crowned national math champs recently.
That's what Alejandra Rojas, Clarissa Olivar, Xavier Escobar, Ada Vu, Sergio Mares and Danielle Clarke are being called by their peers on campus now — star mathletes.
These kids deserve the special recognition because they came out of nowhere to win the Education League National Math Competition involving more than 50 schools scattered across the nation. Sutter's a neighborhood school with 1,400 students, 75 percent of them Latino kids who must be getting a heck of an education to pull off a big win like this.
Not only did the sixth-grade team win the crown, but the school's eighth-grade team made it to the Final Four before being eliminated.
"We were all very surprised when we were named national champs. Our principal's jaw dropped," said Dana Rosenstock, the team's math coach.
"We just kept making it to the next level, then the next, until we won it all. Now we know we have this high level of math student here, and we'll continue to challenge them.
"We've got them for two more years."
As for the kids, they took it all in stride. "Really cool," they agreed.
The eighth-grade algebra students who won the Divisional Championship are David Alfaro, Alejandra Haro, Nghi Chang Nguyen, Sally Nguyen, Faith Webb and Pamela Gomez.
Their teachers are Tamarin Walsh and Jan Lyons. The sixth-grade team teachers are Michelle Weiss and Hasmik Jasmine Mheryan.
It's nice to see a school —any school —recognized nationally for its academic as well as athletic excellence.
Way to go, kids. And thanks, teachers.