Spartan Mathematicians Make History in Statewide Competition

This past December, St. Stephen’s students earned the highest scores in the state at the Texas State Mathematics League (TXML) competition, beating the historical winner Clements High School in Sugar Land. It’s the first time math instructor Michael Oberle recalls SSES taking first place in the statewide competition, which he’s been involved with for 22 years. 

“Clements High School, the giant public high school in Houston with thousands of students generally has been the top scorer for years and years and years,” said Oberle.“But this last contest, we had a team score of 29 and they had a team score of 28. That's huge!”

Close to 30 SSES students competed in the December contest. From those 30, there is a top five category. Four St. Stephen’s students out of the top five landed perfect scores, and one of those students only got one wrong. It was enough to give St. Stephen’s the one point lead over Clements. Congratulations goes to Thomas Guan ’25, Alex Sa ’27, Paul Seo ’25, Alan Yang ’27 who earned perfect scores out of 14 students statewide who earned a perfect score. 

"I was really excited when I learned I had a perfect score because I felt my work in math over the past years had paid off," said Seo. "I want to continue to do my best so that I can fully demonstrate my knowledge and skills."

Oberle credits former math instructor David Haley for introducing the contest on campus when they both started teaching at SSES in 2002. Mr. Oberle has proudly continued the momentum, encouraging all of his students to participate all while managing the logistics of each round. Oberle arranges and schedules  time during their busy days to complete the exams in his classroom. He says he loves doing it and helping students showcase their skills.

“It's giving the students an opportunity to shine,” said Oberle. “Maybe they're not going to be the star quarterback of the football team, but they have something in which they can excel. And I really enjoy the opportunity to give them that platform.”

Students are poised to compete again in the next TXML round, which will take place over the next few days. 

Across campus in the Middle School, the collaboration between divisions is strong. Math instructors have been getting their students excited and comfortable with math contests in preparation for their journey to Upper School.l. Middle School math instructor Kerry Patterson said Spartans in grades six through eighth competed in the Mathworks Math Contest (MMC) for the past two years, which is organized through Texas State University. It is a free contest for any interested middle schooler, and is designed to engage students in problem-solving while giving them fun mathematical challenges. The extremely challenging two hour test includes questions from a variety of topics: geometry, probability, algebra and number sense.
Mrs. Patterson also sponsors a MS Math Club that meets every C letter day to practice past contest questions. A total of 10 SSES students participated in the November contest, alongside nearly 1,300 students across a variety of public and private schools.
Congratulations to St. Stephen’s top scorer Isha Goel ’30, who earned a score of five! Coming in close behind with a score of four was Anna Yang ’29.
In the past, our Middle School mathematicians have competed in MATHCOUNTS and Math Olympiads. 
“We still use those types of questions in class for practice to challenge our kids with the art of problem solving,” said Patterson.
In addition to the TXML, Spartans also participate in the American Mathematics Competition (AMC). It’s a national contest where students get 75 minutes to answer 25 multiple choice questions online. More students typically take part in the AMC because their score is beneficial when applying to larger universities.

Students with the top scores across the nation on the AMC are invited to take part in the American Invitational Mathematics Exam (AIME). About half a dozen Spartans excelled on the AMC, and have been invited to take the AIME in February.

Good luck to all students and Go Spartan Math!
Address: 6500 St. Stephen's Dr., Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 327-1213