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2024 NYI

Kicking off 2024 at the Annual New Year’s Invitational

Students in grades 6 to 8 rose to the challenge as they solved competitive problems at STEAM for All’s annual New Year’s Invitational.

Ready, Set, Go: Students get ready to take their individual mock MATHCOUNTS tests.

Orange County Math Circle successfully hosted the 13th annual New Year’s Invitational, a free, mock MATHCOUNTS tournament, for students in grades six through eight on Feb. 4 at Sage Hill High School.

This friendly yet rigorous competition includes three individual rounds and one team round, each testing students’ knowledge, speed and accuracy with a series of challenging math problems. At the end, participants were recognized for their hard work at an awards ceremony.

“The purpose of the NYI is to give kids who love math an opportunity to have fun and socialize with friends while solving really fun math problems,” OCMC co-president senior Raymond Luo said.

Since its founding, STEAM for All has offered a variety of competitive learning opportunities, such as the Thanksgiving Math Tournament that was held for students in grades three through six this past December. These tournaments allow participants to explore STEM disciplines and sharpen their skills in preparation for competitions like the AMC. Throughout elementary school, sixth graders Neil, Anish, Jonathan and Veer have bonded over their shared love for math.

“My friends and I are all participating in the [Orange County] chapter MATHCOUNTS next weekend, and we thought that this tournament would be a great opportunity for us to practice and showcase our skills,” Neil said. “I have been attending many of STEAM for All’s tournaments for a long time, and one of the biggest advantages of doing math competitions from an early age is building up your intuition.”

The four sixth graders were particularly enthusiastic about collaborating during the team round.

“I enjoy hanging out with my friends and learning the importance of unity and team camaraderie,” Anish said. “Everybody can work together efficiently and adapt to each other's different styles of working and solving problems.”

Learning to persist through complex challenges in both collaborative and independent environments is an integral aspect of the participant experience at STEAM for All events, according to eighth grader Ethan, this year’s NYI winner. Ethan has been involved in STEAM for All initiatives since he was in elementary school and hopes to give back to his community by continuing with STEAM for All as a high school volunteer.

“It’s my last year participating in any of the Orange County Math Circle’s competitions, so I wanted to see if I could get an award to lead into my volunteering years at STEAM for All,” Countdown Round winner Ethan said. “I would definitely recommend this tournament to other students because it’s a great way to meet people who also share the same passion for math.”

Serving eager students at high-energy, fast-paced competitions like the NYI is equally rewarding for STEAM for All’s volunteers. General volunteer Ethan Li, who has served students at various events over the past few years, decided to volunteer as an emcee for the NYI because of his desire to share his passion for mathematics with the next generation of students.

“Through my experience at STEAM for All, I learned the value of giving and helping others,” volunteer Ethan said. “SfA really puts students first and puts supporting people first."

By providing engaging opportunities across various STEAM disciplines, STEAM for All will continue to further its mission of promoting STEAM education among youth in Orange County and beyond. Our next major tournament, the All Girls Math Tournament, will be held on Saturday, Mar. 16. Girls in grades three through eight are welcome to participate. We hope to see you there!

You can check out OCMC’s The Original Collection of Math Contest Problems books on Amazon!

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