MUSCATINE, Iowa–As the school year comes to a close, fifth grade students in Laura McDonald’s pre-advanced placement math class will finish the year on a high note. The class earned first place nationally in their final Sumdog competition of the year, their second time taking top place in only two months.
Over the course of the school year, McDonald’s students competed in a total of four competitions and showed steady growth as the year went on. When they first competed in the national holiday contest, they scored fourth in the nation, with only one student, Sam Recker, placing in the top 50. When they competed again in February, the class score dropped to seventh place, but four students, Sam, Kaylee Cochran, Lexi Gray, and Layla Jaber, broke the top 50. In April, the class brought home their first first place victory, with Sam earning first place with a score of 999 out of 1,000 and Kaylee, Lexi, Santiago Diaz, and Tate Staker all making the top 50. For their final competition, the class earned first place once again, Sam placed first individually with a perfect score, and Kaylee, Lexie, Santiago, Tate, and Sam Roeth all placing among the top 50 students.
The icing on the cake, McDonald’s students also won the Mississippi Bend Area Education Association’s Sumdog competition. Three of her students placed in the top 10, as did two Madison Elementary students.
Looking back on her students’ success, McDonald could not feel any better about the hard work they put in. “I just sit back and watch them soar,” she beamed. “I think I have as much fun watching their scores climb as they enjoy doing the contests.”
As the top placing student in the nation two times running, Sam Recker also felt good about his own performance too. Though he felt nervous going into the second competition, Sam shared he felt pleased, about, “getting almost all of them done correctly in the first one and all of them in the second one.”
Though Sam has excellent math skills, he says he enjoys social studies the most of any of his classes, especially because of the Oregon Trail simulation they did. Sam has also enjoyed his gym class and the several fun holiday parities that took place throughout the year.