USACE Supports Local Mathletes

Middle East District
Published Feb. 27, 2012

WINCHESTER, Va. – Mathletes from area middle schools gathered Feb. 4 to compete in a local MATHCOUNTS event.

The MATHCOUNTS program promotes mathematics achievement for middle school students in every state and territory of the United States. Virginia is divided into various regions that conduct local MATHCOUNTS competitions. The Blue Ridge Region contains the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren, and the cities of Winchester and Front Royal.

This year's competition was organized by the Virginia Society of Professional Engineers, and local sponsors included the Blue Ridge Post of the Society of American Military Engineers and Frederick County Public Schools.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employees have volunteered for the regional MATHCOUNTS competition for the past ten years. Working as the Regional Coordinator for the Virginia Society of Professional Engineers, Ravi Seam, of the Transatlantic Division, had the overall responsibility for organizing the event, while representatives from both the Transatlantic Division and Middle East District supported the competition as proctors and evaluators. The division's Joann Evans, representing the Blue Ridge Post of SAME, also presented the awards.

Those who participated enjoyed the experience and said they will do so again.

Participating in the MATHCOUNTS competition "gives other people (in the community) a chance to see that the Corps of Engineers cares about the quality of education kids are getting," said the Middle East District's Peter Russin.

Elizabeth Prusch, structural engineer with the Middle East District, said she became involved "to help younger kids learn about math. Especially for young girls, it is important for them to be introduced to it early and taught that it's not nerdy."

Other volunteers included Joann Evans, Annie Cain and Margaret Jones from the Transatlantic Division; and Joseph Zaraszczak, Iqbal Singh, Robert Woodson, Mo Mostaghim, Raj Khurana and Gregory Michaels from the Middle East District. Representatives from Shockey Precast and Blue Ridge Design also participated as judges, as well as some USACE retirees.

Running from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., students competed individually and as teams in written and oral matches. Subjects included algebra, probability, statistics, and geometry. The top team and the top two individuals will continue on to the state MATHCOUNTS competition, which will be held in Richmond, Va., March 17.

The event was held at Admiral Richard E. Byrd Middle School, with a total of 47 students competing from Robert E. Aylor Middle School, James Wood Middle School and Admiral Richard E. Byrd Middle School in Frederick County; Daniel Morgan Middle School and Sacred Heart Academy in Winchester; Powhatan School in Boyce; and Chelsea Academy in Front Royal. Additional information on MATHCOUNTS is available at

The Middle East District provides engineering, construction and related services in the Middle East, Central Asia and other areas. Its work includes designing and constructing facilities for use by U.S. forces, performing engineering activities for other U.S. government and foreign agencies, and providing operations and maintenance services for various customers. In addition, the district provides project management, engineering, contracting and support services to USACE districts in Afghanistan.