Pellissippi State students record school’s highest finish ever in national math contest

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Five Pellissippi State Community College students distinguished the college with its highest placement ever in Round One of the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges’ annual Student Mathematics League Math Competition. Now they’re taking part in Round Two.

Pellissippi State took first in the state and second in the Southeast region during Round One of the October competition, which involves administration of a math exam at the precalculus level. The Southeast region includes two-year colleges in eight states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The same students are now participating in the second round. Round Two started Feb. 17 and continues through March 10. Any school may enter that competition.

“We have never been higher than about 10th place in the Southeast region,” said Bobby Jackson, an associate professor of mathematics. “We were only three points behind ‘perennial power’ Georgia Perimeter College.”

Pellissippi State students Trevor Sharpe and Christopher Shutt placed first and second, respectively, for their team and in the region.

Typically about 80 students from Pellissippi State take the exam, but that number increased this time around. Round One drew 111 Pellissippi State students. Each participating college administers the test according to AMATYC guidelines.

“It’s a very challenging test— very challenging,” said Jackson, who has overseen the SML test for more than a decade at Pellissippi State. “We’re just proud of the students who took part.”

Sharpe’s score is the highest Pellissippi State has ever recorded, says Jackson. Sharpe is a dual enrollment student who is taking classes at Pellissippi State and also home-schooling through Homelife Academy in Knoxville. Shutt, a sophomore, is scheduled to graduate in May.

The top five qualifying scores count toward the team total. Pellissippi State students Harry Hughes, Connor Corcoran and Isa Dauti rounded out the college’s top five in the competition. Hughes is also a dual enrollment student. Corcoran and Dauti are sophomores.

Nationally, Pellissippi State finished 42nd in a field of 185 colleges in Round One.

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