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Corning West junior wins senior contest at Alfred University’s annual math competition
11/14/12

Matt Dobbins, a junior from Corning-Painted Post West High School, placed first in the Senior Competition at the 44th Annual W. Varick Nevins III High School Mathematics Competition at Alfred University (AU) Nov. 12. The competition was open to high school students in Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania.

The contest was divided into the Junior/Senior Competition for students in grades 11 and 12 and the Sophomore Competition for students in 10th grade and lower.

The first- , second-, and third-place winners from each group received cash prizes; in addition, juniors and seniors who placed first, second, and third were awarded Alfred University scholarships of $10,000, $8,000, and $6,000, respectively, divided over four years.

In addition, the school whose top three scores added up to the highest total won the team competition and was awarded an engraved plaque.

This year, the exam consisted of 30 multiple-choice questions and focused on original thinking and creative problem-solving rather than routine application of familiar techniques. A perfect score on the exam was 30 points.

Dobbins, with a score of 26, was followed by Aditya Gaouth Sezhian, a junior from Corning-Painted Post East. Senior Qingyang Chen from Corning-Painted Post West earned third place while Jonathan Makeley, a senior from Genesee Valley High School, Belmont, placed fourth. Brock Mapes, a junior from Genesee Valley and Kevin Rathbun, a junior from Livonia High School, tied for fifth place.

In the Sophomore Competition, Blake Hurlburt, a sophomore from Corning-Painted Post West, placed first. Sophomores Jud Hershey of the Honeoye Central School District and Hannah Snyder of the Keshequa Central School District tied for second, while Hunter Mills of Livonia and Kirsten Willey of Keshequa, both sophomores, tied for fourth.

The winner of the Team Competition was Corning-Painted Post West High School with a total score of 61. The team was comprised of Dobbins, Chen, and Hurlburt.          The Nevins Competition is named in honor of the late W. Varick Nevins, a 1932 graduate of Alfred University who taught mathematics at the University from 1937 until his death in 1967.

According to former AU Math Professor Robert Sloan, Nevins’ “love for mathematics and for teaching gained him a place in the hearts of students at Alfred…Everyone who had a course with him remembers not only his knowledge of mathematics, but also his delightful sense of the ridiculous.”

The first competition was held in 1968 and was won by Timothy of Frawley of Corning-Painted Post East High School. Frawley went on to become a math teacher, retiring from the Corning-Painted Post West High School, said Addison Frey, Alfred University professor of mathematics.