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Locust Valley Middle School student accepted into competitive math institute

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Locust Valley Middle School incoming seventh grader, Kathryn Kilpatrick, said that her favorite part about math, which is one of her favorite subjects, is the fact that one can either be right or wrong when solving a problem.

But it appears that she usually right, as the Institute of Creative Problem Solving has selected her as a Long Island Young Scholar of Mathematics for Gifted and Talented Students.

Each year, approximately 700 students are nominated to be included into this competitive program, which is housed at the State University of New York at Old Westbury, and Kathryn is one of fewer than 100 students accepted for the 2020-21 school year.

Kathryn said that she was excited that she was accepted into the program.

According to the institute, students selected are among the top 0.1 percent of all students in mathematics on Long Island within their grade. Kathryn was chosen after completing a rigorous entrance exam, a review of her report card and the recommendation of her math teacher, Joseph Lee.

“It was a weird year because we were in quarantine,” said Kathryn’s mother, Kaira Kilpatrick said. “We are so proud. She works really hard and she does a lot of extra math contests. So she’s been practicing quite a bit. And it’s nice when something you’ve been practicing pays off."

Lee recommended Kathryn for the program and said she is a perfect fit. “Kate is an inquisitive student and a versatile learner,” Lee said. “She loves a challenge and is eager to impress. She gained great experience this past year, as she challenged herself in our double accelerated honors math course and earned the top score for our school in the American Mathematics Challenge 8.”

Kaira said that the district has been supportive in recognizing her daughter, putting her accomplishment on its website. "She’s been getting lots of attention from her friends," Kaira said, "and the different teachers she’s had over the years.”

Kathryn will have the opportunity to challenge herself even further through the institute’s curriculum, which covers topics such as algebra, geometry and number theory, as well as problem-solving applied to probability, theory of finite differences and mass point geometry.

The mission of the institute is to develop a participant’s “ability to use a variety of problem-solving skills and strategies; increase their interest and enthusiasm for problem-solving in mathematics; sharpen their mathematical intuition; acquaint themselves with interesting and important mathematical ideas; and experience the fun, satisfaction and thrill of discovery associated with creative problem-solving.”