Congratulations to Sami El-Hajjar of Maryland Avenue Montessori! Sami won first place overall in the Wisconsin State MATHCOUNTS competition on Saturday, March 12, 2022. The seventh-grader faced off against 100 other middle school students from around the state and emerged with top honors.

Held at the Acuity Center in Sheboygan, the competition consisted of two rounds of timed and written tests. In the Sprint round, competitors had 40 minutes to answer 30 questions. In the Target round, participants were given eight questions—two questions at a time with a six-minute time limit per round.

With a maximum possible score of 46 points for the two combined rounds, Sami’s score of 38 points ranked him as the top finisher. Students with the top scores moved on to a final Jeopardy-style round, directly facing off against each other to buzz in and answer the problems.

At the end of the day, Sami decisively won both the written and Jeopardy-style rounds, making him the first Milwaukee Public Schools student to win the state MATHCOUNTS competition.

This year’s competition was Sami’s second year at the state level of MATHCOUNTS. In 2021, he placed 27th at state. He credits his success this year to his personal enjoyment of the intricacies of math as well as being coached by Dave Siekmann, his enthusiastic coach since 2nd grade.

Principal Joseph DiCarlo shared his excitement for Sami’s success. “We are so proud of Sami for his outstanding accomplishment of being the first MPS student to ever win the state MATHCOUNTS competition. His passion for mathematics and his dedication to his studies is truly impressive!  We wish Sami all the best at the national MATHCOUNTS competition in Washington, DC. Way to go, Sami!”

Along with three other top finishers, Sami will represent Wisconsin at the 2022 Raytheon Technologies MATHCOUNTS National Competition in Washington, DC, on May 8 and 9. Good luck, Sami!