Inspiring next generation math prodigies


Seven teams of HiMCM participants showed exceptional performances in the competition.

One-hundred four math students participated in the national High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling (HiMCM) in the month of November, and the results of the competition showed that Woodbridge High had one team make the National Finalist level, two teams to be Finalists, four Meritorious teams, 12 Honorable Mention teams and seven successful participant teams.

HiMCM is a mathematics competition arranged by the Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications (COMAP) where students work to find a solution to one of two real-life problems within 36 hours.

This year, not only did the overall school wide participation increase from 77 students, many of the teams performed at a higher level than last year’s teams.

Participants Tynesha Pham, Patrick Park, Donghae Shin, and William Tong placed in the top 1 percent at the National Finalist level.

Internationally, only 1 percent of students place at the National Finalist level and the school was the only school in not only IUSD, but also the in the state to place at this level in the competition.

The National Finalist team had a special weapon that many members attributed to their successful result–expertise in computer science.

“The key attribute that our team had was our computer science experience,” Park said. “William and Tynesha had a lot of computer science experience. Overall, we were really dedicated to learning as much as we can on the topic.”

Although the team was able to reach the National Finalist level, the competition was not an easy journey for them.

“It was hard because there were a lot of variables on our problem and we had to write a 40 page paper explaining the assumption of variables and how we came up with the solution so there are no loose ends,” Shin said.

David Gesk, math teacher and HiMCM advisor, showed his appreciation to all the teams that competed.

“I’m happy for all the teams and it’s good that all of them competed. It’s definitely an accomplishment to compete in any math competition,” Gesk said.

After reflecting on the experience as a whole, team members all displayed great happiness and a great sense of achievement.

“It’s just amazing. We put a lot of hard work, but we never knew we could actually get that high, reach that high in the competition. Especially because I’ve done HiMCM before and already knew what it was kinda like,” Pham said.