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The First Place Math Masters Team includes, from left, Mia Martinez, Lexa Rocho-Werner, Emily Schiltz, Adam Daggett, Frey Lemonholm and coach Adam Jensen. The students participated in a competition held in Moorhead last month, where they received multiple awards.

Kids+Math=Super!

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Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Many student organizations aren't recognized by the Minnesota State High School League, but that doesn't stop them from seeking that adrenaline rush by competing and winning.

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A number of local student clubs, although non-athletic, have done well enough this year that they deserve some recognition.

Math wizards are an example of young, and not so young, students testing their skills in competitions against other schools.

Detroit Lakes High School ninth and 10th graders placed fourth overall in the Tri-College University Mathematics Contest held in Moorhead in March, where 55 teams from different schools participated.

The Fifth Grade Math Masters competition was also held in Moorhead last month, where 22 teams participated including 110 fifth graders. Among them were 15 Roosevelt Elementary students that earned multiple awards in the competition.

In the individual problem-solving rounds, Roosevelt students excelled, placing four out of the top five including the individual champion, Quinn Bakken.

"I was really impressed. They've been working hard all year," said fifth grade teacher and team leader Adam Jensen, adding that it was finally nice to see them rewarded for their hard work.

The students were preparing for the competitions all year, practicing sample problems and working on more challenging questions that are really meant for students in higher level math.

Mia Martinez was one of the fifth graders who earned the Fact Drill Award. She said the competition was nerve-wracking but she was glad to do it and happy to be a part of the Math Masters.

"It seems like a good way to meet a bunch of new people in the group," she said. "You learn a bunch of new math skills and you learn how to work as a team with other people."

Teamwork and dedication play a vital role in the success of all student clubs, whether it's an after school sport or the Government Group at the Detroit Lakes High School -- a club where students gather to discuss politics.

But these days, a lot of students don't have time to compete in sports and also compete in Knowledge Bowl, drum and dance or one-act plays.

Detroit Lakes Schools Activities Director Mitch McLeod said there are only a handful of students who join after school non-athletic extracurricular activities, because most students simply don't have enough time to do it all.

Additionally, student clubs like the Key Club, Interact, Trivia, Ojibwe Quiz Bowl and the Debate Team are not as popular among the general public.

Most parents, family and friends look for entertainment at various sporting competitions.

"A lot of people aren't gonna go watch kids talk about politics," McLeod said.

And without ongoing support from the public or the Minnesota State High School League, the popularity of some student clubs disappears.

But teachers, staff and the administration still encourage students to figure out what they're good at, join a club, compete in the many different forms of competition to test their skills and gain valuable experience beyond the academics.

"Everybody is good at something and that's what our kids need to find, they need to find that thing that they really love," McLeod said. "Whether it's football, where you have to be big, strong and fast, or whether it's Knowledge Bowl. As long as kids are involved, we're excited for them."

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