Top Math Students Honored at South Pasadena Middle School

StudentsOutstanding achievement in mathematics was recognized at the 28th Annual South Pasadena Middle School Open House Awards ceremony on May 30.

Eighth graders Matthew Arena, Jaehyung Choi, and Grace Kull were presented a trophy as Mathematicians of the Year.  They led the South Pasadena Tiger Cub team in fifteen local, state, and national events.

Led by Arena, Choi, and Kull, the SPMS math team recently completed a very successful year.  The 8th grade and 7th grade teams placed 1st in the 28th annual Los Angeles County Math Field Day in May. SPMS 3-peated at the 41st annual Don Bosco Math Field Day and 5-peated at the 33rd annual Mark Keppel Math Field Day.

The Continental Math League is a problem solving competition with headquarters in New York. Caroline Choi earned 1st place in the nation as a result of five perfect rounds. The 7th and 6th grade teams finished first in the western region of the United States.  A total of 180 schools participated. More information can be found at:

SPMS 8th graders ranked sixth in the state in the California Math League, while the 6th graders were 8th. Full details are available at:

Mathfax is a geometry problem solving event. Arena ranked 12th in the US among more than 1100 students. The team was 4th nationally.  Full details are available at

SIGMA is a national math competition headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska.  More than 12,000 students from 102 middle schools were challenged over a five month period.  SPMS placed fifth in the 6/7/8 division in the nation.  Sorted by grade level, each SPMS team ranked in the top 7. For more information:

Mathcounts is the most prestigious middle school math competition in America.  Sponsored by Raytheon and the National Society of Professional Engineers, over 6000 schools participated this year. The SPMS team of Arena, Kull, Jaehyung Choi, and Harry Han placed second in the San Gabriel Valley.  See

Highest Team Achievement awards were presented to all three SPMS grade level teams by the Math Olympiad.  Sixth grader Kai Dettman was presented the George Lenchner medallion for his perfect score through all five rounds of problem solving challenges.  See for more information.

The Perennial is an online problem solving challenge emanating from Huntsville, Alabama.  Led by Han’s perfect individual score, the SPMS team ranked first in the nation.

The Korean-American Scientists and Engineers Association hosted their annual math challenge for all students in Southern California.  Arena placed 3rd individually.  More information is available at

Rocket City Math challenges students not by grade level, but by their level of mathematics.  Stephen Ren was 4th in the U.S. in the Algebra division, Caroline Liu was 14th, and the duo led the 7th grade team to a 3rd place finish.  Kull placed 11th in the Geometry division, Kendrick Shen was 16th, and the 8th grade team placed 7th in the nation.  Details are available at

The United States Math Olympiad Committee sent Commendations of Distinction to three SPMS students for ranking in the top 1% in the AMC8 math competition.  The USMOC praised Arena, Han, and Alex Quan. Samantha Bevers, Caroline Choi, Dettman, Ben Kim, Rachel Lu, Ryan Li, Nicolo Porcu, Tomas Quiroz, Rainey Tilley and Michael Xiong were sent Certificates of Honor for excellence among 6th graders taking the 8th grade exam.  Certificates of Achievement for high scores on the 10th grade exam were presented to 8th graders Jaehyung Choi, Han, John Heath, Phoebe Kim, and Kull.  More information is available at

Sixth graders Jean Lih and Maylis Whetsel were each awarded a $1000 scholarship from the Raytheon Company for their outstanding projects relating mathematics to NASA’s Curiosity mission to Mars. Check out for information regarding this event.

Follow the progress of the SPMS math team at :