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Branksome Hall News

Go Pi-Landers! Branksome Mathematics Club Wins Canadian Team Math Contest

A love of math has been fostered in Branksome students for generations. From the classroom to college, the foundations students learn at Branksome Hall take them to new heights in all aspects of their lives. For our math-loving Grades 9–12 students, the cleverly named Pi-Landers Math Club is the perfect place to develop skills and even flex them in competitions. This spring, six club members competed in the Canadian Team Mathematics Contest (CTMC) at Pickering College, where they proudly came in first.
Led by club heads Janice and Angela, Pi-Landers participate in a variety of math enrichment activities and puzzles each week. Math teachers Ms. Edith Louie, Ms. Grace Yu and Ms. Samantha Wall are always happy to give their time to supervising the club. “When it comes to teaching math, the limit of our joy does not exist,” said Ms. Wall. “We love to help students recognize that math permeates the world around us, to appreciate the usefulness, power and beauty of mathematics and to become critical thinkers and problem solvers, both in the classroom and in real-life situations.” 

To support students in fostering this love for math, over 20 local, national and international math contests are hosted by Branksome Hall each year, organized by Ms. Wall and supervised by our dedicated math teachers. A committed group of Senior & Middle School students write these tests throughout the year, always eager for more. When the club was invited to Pickering College for the Canadian Team Mathematics Contest, our Pi-Landers couldn’t wait to sign up.

Branksome’s six-person CTMC team consisted of Angela (Grade 12), Catherine (Grade 11), Alana (Grade 11), Janice (Grade 11), Sylvia (Grade 11) and Erica (Grade 10). With the help and dedication of their faculty supervisors and coach and Senior School math teacher Ms. Heather Cornford, the students confidently stepped into competing in the three-part contest at Pickering College. 

The first stage of the event was the Team Contest, where competitors have a total of 45 minutes to complete a series of 25 questions together. With less than two minutes per question, the Branksome team was required to think strategically about how to answer, and members needed to think critically about their areas of expertise to ensure all problems were solved accurately and quickly. The next stage had students working individually to answer 10 questions where their individual scores would be added to the team total. Lastly, the team competed in a relay race where the answer from one member was used in the next team member’s question, and so on. 

“Sometimes students see problem solving as an individual activity, but the team competition showed me the collaborative side of Mathematics and how working together to solve a problem can be fun,” said Janice, Pi-Landers team member and Club Co-Head. “The team competition allowed me to work with like-minded individuals to explore the beauty of Mathematics.” A day filled with fun, collaboration and joy ended with an incredible rewards ceremony, where the team was crowned champions of the Canadian Team Mathematics Contest, boasting the highest score out of 14 independent schools from around the province.

Following the contest, one of our math students now has big plans. Graduating Pi-Lander Co-Head Angela is taking her math to the next level at the University of Waterloo this fall after scoring 90 out of 100 on the Euclid Math Contest (part of the university’s application process), the best result seen from a Branksome student in more than 25 years. We wish Angela all the best as she pursues an education in STEM in her post-secondary studies. 

The Pi-Landers thank their coach, Ms. Cornford, and their dedicated teachers for their commitment to preparing them for the contest and supporting their love of math. “Our math teachers have all gone above and beyond to ensure that the students have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate their skills beyond the classroom and I am so thankful to have a team that focuses on inspiring and challenging our students to love math,” said Edith Louie, Instructional Leader, Mathematics. 

Congratulations to Angela, Catherine, Alana, Janice, Sylvia and Erica and the Branksome Hall Math Team!
We wish to acknowledge this land on which Branksome operates. For thousands of years, it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work and go to school on this land.

Setting the new standard for girls' education everywhere takes collective action. From all of us.