Fifth Annual MATHlete Competition

Pictured are the top five finishers of the Fifth Annual MATHlete Competition, held on Tuesday, April 16, at the Livingston Parish Literacy and Technology Center. From left are Bruce Billings, South Walker Elementary (fifth place); Marlon Ramos, North Live Oak Elementary (fourth place); Landon Nguyen, Juban Parc Elementary (third place); Andrew Aguillard, North Corbin Elementary (second place); and Andy Nguyen, Eastside Elementary (first place).

WALKER -- For four intense minutes, 51 third-graders put their knowledge of math to the test — literally.

That was all the time they had to solve 144 multiplication problems, which they’d spent the year practicing in preparation for the Fifth Annual MATHlete Competition presented by the Kiwanis Clubs of Denham Springs and Walker.

Once the results were in, it was clear — these were some smart kids.

“We may have to adjust the time because these kids are getting too good,” joked Denham Springs Kiwanis Club member Clint Carver.

He wasn’t lying.

Students from 17 elementary schools across Denham Springs, Watson and Walker gathered at the Livingston Parish Literacy and Technology Center for the annual math competition on Tuesday, April 16.

Participating schools entered their top three contestants from in-school competitions held throughout the year. Every student was awarded a medal, while trophies went to the top five finishers.

Leading the pack was Eastside Elementary’s Andy Nguyen, who was the first student to complete the test. He finished ahead of Andrew Aguillard from North Corbin Elementary (second), Landon Nguyen from Juban Parc Elementary (third), Marlon Ramos from North Live Oak Elementary (fourth), and Bruce Billings from South Walker Elementary (fifth).

Along with a trophy, the top five received gift cards ranging from $25-$100.

Ludrick Hidalgo, a 10-year member of the Denham Springs Kiwanis Club, is the person credited with starting the competition. He described it as a way for the club to fulfill its mission of “giving back to children” — albeit in a different way that could benefit them years down the road.

“Kiwanis is about helping children,” he said, “and this math competition helps them in ways that they don’t even realize right now but will later on.”

Students met in the LPLTC auditorium Tuesday morning with their parents and teachers before being led to the testing room. Once there, they spent the next four minutes in total silence as they searched their brains for the right answers to the multiplication equations. 

After the competition, Kiwanis Club members agreed on one point: The students have gotten smarter with each passing year.

During the first year of the competition, only one student finished the test in the four-minute time frame. When Walker schools joined the party last year, six students managed to finish the test.

But this year? Fifteen, and others came close.

“You think you showed up for a little math competition, but these kids take this seriously,” Carver said. “They bring the intensity to academia.”

The following students represented their schools in the competition:

Denham Springs Elementary

Jayden Paetz

Gabe Michgelsen

Gabby Gann

Eastside Elementary

Kristine Adams

Andy Nguyen

Darian Ramirez

Freshwater Elementary

Jaelyn Jeansonne

Juliana Jones

Harlie Jo Kahanu-Schexnayder

Gray’s Creek Elementary

Nicholas Battieste

Brennen Wyatt

Elias Groves

Juban Parc Elementary

Landon Nguyen

Abigail Dougherty

Georgia Parrott

Lewis Vincent Elementary

Chloe Chelette

Emma LeBlanc

Brody Pilgram

Live Oak Elementary

Andrew Hernandez

Lawson Smith

Paige Delcambre

North Corbin Elementary

Kobe Johnston

Colton Kling

Andrew Aguillard

North Live Oak Elementary

Brady Boudreaux

Avery Perkins

Marlon Ramos

Northside Elementary

Paisley Berry

Hope Dykes

Zeke Mearidy

Seventh Ward Elementary

Chlea Bellony Ho A Sim

Katelyn Devall

Riley House

South Fork Elementary

Michel Hatch

Logan Pousson

Ashton Coulon

South Live Oak Elementary

Jaxson LeFebvre

Hayden Landry

Ella Orser

South Walker Elementary

Kasen El-Khansa

Brock Dees

Bruce Billings

Southside Elementary

Genesis Pacheco-Salvador

Aubrey Paetz

Ceionna Brock

Walker Elementary

Dalton Stubbs

Isaiah Shelton

Jocelynn Voss

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