BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The pandemic brought many challenges, one being education.
Just last year more than 40% of the state of California did not meet testing standards for math, but here in Kern County that number rises to 51.3%.
Although those numbers are alarming there is a school here in Kern County that is making sure math continues to be a priority.
Are you smarter than a sixth grader? Probably not as smart as the ones at Reagan Elementary.
From mastering concepts in algebra to calculus it's no wonder they qualified for the MathCounts State Championship.
“As soon as I take that turn around the corner, I see her screaming you got into state and then she gave me high five.”
Sixth grader Ronak Bose at Reagan Elementary said he couldn't believe he was going to state and that when he heard the news, he was surprised he beat his older brother.
“That felt like super nice especially since he did it a grade after me because they didn't have sixth graders do it back then. So, it felt super good that I did it in sixth grade and he did it like in seventh grade.”
But Ronak wasn’t the only sixth grader who qualified for state at Reagan. Anjali Kakarla was the overall champion in the competition, and she also had to beat her older sibling to qualify.
“I didn't say anything to him. My parents did all the work, and I was really happy.”
Despite being a gracious winner Ronald Reagan Elementary School teacher Katherine Hamilton said Anjali and Ronak are truly exceptional.
“They’re doing math that I didn't even do in high school so it’s challenging. They’re coming in already knowing sixth grade math, seventh grade math, eighth grade math, probably even higher up than that.”
Hamilton said for her to see these students grow really warms her heart, but she wants to see even more students engaged in math.
“They can go on mathcounts.org and all of the information is there. They have practice tests, you can watch videos, how to solve problems, they have a ton of resources.”
It’s all free. Although champions Anjali and Ronak understand that math isn’t for everyone and that it can also stump them Anjali said the best thing you can do is believe in yourself.
“Math looks really hard at first, there’s lots of weird numbers and weird pictures to look at, but if you put your mind to it then everything seems to click in place like a puzzle and it all seems to work together neatly.”