A numbers game

Dave Mathieson
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AMHERST - Amherst has a math machine in its midst, one who has torn a large swath through Canada's Mathematical landscape.

AMHERST - Amherst has a math machine in its midst, one who has torn a large swath through Canada's Mathematical landscape.

Thirteen year-old Matt Haley of Amherst tied for third place out of 7,232 Grade 8 students from across Canada who took Mathamatica's 40 question Lagrange test.

"It was pretty amazing when I found out my test score," Matt said. "I wasn't expecting it, I was really excited."

Matt found out how well he did at the same time as everyone else did who packed into the E.B. Chandler gymnasium for their end of the year ceremony.

His dad, Fabian, said Matt was excited.

"He didn't know anything about it, all the kids were surprised. It surprised everyone," Fabian said. "Everybody lit up like a Christmas tree."

Matt was presented with a medal and a plaque and when father and son headed back to their seat, with a big laugh his dad said, "like father like son," and patted Matt on the back.

It was the first time E.B. Chandler competed in the Mathematica contest, so it was the first time Matt, along with 59 other E.B. Chandler students had ever written the test.

Matt's test score helped put E.B. Chandler on Mathamatica's school honour roll, only one of five Nova Scotia Schools to do so.

Matt answered 38 of the 40 questions correctly. Only 19 other Grade 8 students from the 7,232 students who took the test got the same amount of answers correct.

His results also gave him the top score in Nova Scotia.

"I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the kids from Ontario attend fancy private schools," Fabian said with a laugh. "It's nice to see a kid from a small Maritime city near the top of the list."

Matt speaks in a friendly, easy-going manner, often inflecting his sentences with, cool, that's cool or that's kind of cool.

When asked about the recognition he's receiving he said, "It's kind of cool. I've already heard people say, 'there's the guy who placed first in Nova Scotia' or 'there's the guy who placed third in Canada.' It's pretty awesome."

Asked on the phone which of his parents he gets his brainpower from he kind of laughed a little and said, "I know my dad's pretty smart. My mom's standing right here so I don't want to say she isn't, because she's pretty smart too."

What does his mom think of Matt's results?

"It's excellent," she said. "I think it's wonderful. His father and I are very proud of him."

A common question asked of people with a gift or a talent is what they will do with that gift.

"I have no idea what I want to do," Matt said. "I've heard people say I could get into a good university. I guess all my paths are open to whatever I feel like doing."

He doesn't have trouble with other subjects at school but said, "math is definitely my easiest subject."

That's an understatement.

Besides the phenomenal test score posted by Haley, other top E.B. Chandler, Lagrange contestants and scores out of 40 are: Allanah Conrad (30), Rory Evans (30), Sara Mackay (29) Leah Patterson (29), Haley Speight (29), Nick Gould (28), Devin Lockart (28), Lauren Mackintosh (27), Kevin Hatheway (26), Corey Wheaton (26), Jesse Blakeney (26), Chelsey Gray (24), Ian Blundell (24), Pio Vera Putz (24), Owen Canton (23) and Bryson MacDonald (23). All these students received Certificates of Distinction.


Organizations: Nova Scotia Schools, Owen Canton

Geographic location: Canada, Nova Scotia, Ontario Maritime

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Recent comments

  • Mel
    January 18, 2010 - 11:01

    Great Article. Congratulations Matt.
    Now what about the grade 7's .? They participated in this as well!!! And they did great.

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 10:59

    Hey Fabian! Matt definitely gets his smarts from the mothers side!! LOL j/k

    Congratulations to Matt!!!