Homewood-Flossmoor High School student Cecilia Nicks won the Region 8 Algebra II exam, placing first over all competitors at the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics competition March 17.
H-F also had two teams take second place in the competition.
In the individual round, every competitor in Region 8 — Lincoln-Way East, Lincoln-Way Way, Lockport, Stagg and Andrew High Schools — took the 20-question Algebra II exam and Nicks had the highest score. Region 8 schools are selected by enrollment and geography.
H-F also won second place for the work of its Junior-Senior Group of seniors Serena Determan, Savannah Holly and Ashley White with juniors Ceci Nicks, Divinegrace Nwanguma and Wynton Wright. Ceci said the teammates looked over that written exam and split the questions among themselves.
And, the Calculator team took second place in the Region 8 competition. Members of the team were seniors Serena Determan and Savannah Holly, junior Wynton Wright, sophomore Korey Mulling and freshman Xavier White.
Ceci and her H-F Mathletes teammates have been practicing weekly since August. The first competition is in September and the regionals are usually in February, but due to pandemic restrictions the competition was virtual and moved to March, according to math teacher Michael Sacks, who coaches the Mathletes team with math teacher Melissa Makovsky.
Sacks said H-F competes in five competitions. Awards are given at the last competition. If there was a state competition this year, Ceci would have qualified with her individual and team scores.
Ceci, the daughter of Jessica and Julian Nicks of Homewood, hopes to major in math in college. Her focus would be economics-based math, such as actuarial science. Although she is a junior, she is taking early graduation from H-F. She took Algebra I as a seventh grader and Geometry as an eighth grader at James Hart School in Homewood.
It was H-F math teacher Kimberly Griffin who encouraged her to join Mathletes, a student organization designed to recognize students’ mathematical abilities, encourage independent study and give them a chance to compete. Ceci admits that she wasn’t initially receptive to the idea, but she enjoyed math enough that she became a team member.