Gordon Bell JMC Champs, 1972

These three students from Gordon Bell High School were the Canadian Champions in the old Junior Math Contest for the year 1972. It was a contest for students in Grades 9, 10 and 11., forerunner to today's Pascal, Cayley and Fermat contests offered by the CEMC at the University of Waterloo. Winning came as a great surprise to all of us! It was my first year of coaching students for a contest, and I did not really know what to do or what to expect. But in the past I had been successful at coaching students for the old departmental exams that all students wrote at the end of each school year. There it was very important to study old papers, so I decided to do the same. The JMC started in 1963 and this was 1972 so there were exactly nine old papers. We did them all, meeting after school once or twice a week. There were about fifteen students who came out for this on a regular basis. The last two old papers we did were practice runs, timing the students to see what they could do in one hour. I dared to hope that we might win the M.A.M.T. plaque for our Zone. We were in Zone 10, by far the largest zone in the province. It consisted of all schools in the Winnipeg school division, and many of them were located in much wealthier areas that Gordon Bell which was considered an inner city school. Towards the end, when the results on the practice contests were encouraging, I even dared hope that we might win the province. The paper was written that year on March 1st. In April the principal received a phone call telling him that our team had placed first in Canada, and our top student, Edward Ng, was the individual Canadian Champion. I was ecstatic! It had never occurred to me to aim that high. There were approximately a thousand schools participating and close to 20,000 students. Edward and Bill had both scored high enough that they were invited to the week long student seminar held each spring at the University of Waterloo. Bill Leslie was only in Grade 10 that year so he had a chance to try again in '73. Edward and Rozalia were Grade 11s That was the first time I dipped my toe into the world of math contests. I have been hooked ever since.