Half Hollow Hills Math Students Named to Institute of Creative Problem Solving

Seven Half Hollow Hills Central School District students have been accepted by the Institute of Creative Problem Solving for Gifted and Talented Students at SUNY College at Old Westbury. They are among the 85 students selected this year who will pursue the study of mathematics and its applications.

The Half Hollow Hills students are:

  • Julia Fitlin, Half Hollow Hills High School East;
  • Benjamin Goldfried, Half Hollow Hills High School East;
  • Michael Han, Half Hollow Hills High School East;
  • Nicholas Han, Half Hollow Hills High School East;
  • Dylan Keskinyan, Half Hollow Hills High School East;
  • Ryan Peskin, West Hollow Middle School; and
  • Niyanth Ponnusamy, West Hollow Middle School.

To qualify, these seven students competed against approximately 500 of the top-ranked students who had been nominated from school districts across Long Island.

Acceptances were based on four criteria: school transcript, teacher recommendation, a brief statement written by the student and a rigorous entrance exam.

“Selection by the institute implies that a student is among the top one-tenth of 1 percent in math of all students on Long Island in his or her grade,” said Ian Dunst, director of mathematics at Half Hollow Hills. “I applaud our students’ perspective on this hard work and outcome as being a prestigious prize. We are very proud to have seven of our students accepted into the institute this year.”

Each student is expected to spend 50 hours in class over the course of 20 Saturday mornings. The curriculum covers mathematical topics from algebra, geometry, discrete math, and number theory, as well as topics not included in the standard courses of study such as problem solving applied to probability, theory of finite differences, science applications and mass point geometry.

“Over the years, many of the institute graduates have gone on to win prestigious awards, including national and international math, science, and engineering contests,” Dunst said.

Workshops for parents of students in the institute cover a variety of topics, including how to enhance parent/student communications, improve gifted student self-awareness, and how to foster children’s interests in mathematics, science, and technology. Workshop presenters include Dr. Marci Lobel, psychology professor at Stony Brook University, and Elizabeth Wissner-Gross, an educational strategist and author.

The Institute is supported by SUNY College at Old Westbury; the Nassau County Mathematics Teachers Association; the Suffolk County Mathematics Teachers Association; the Nassau County Interscholastic Mathematics League; the Nassau County Association of Mathematics Supervisors; MoMath, the National Museum of Mathematics; Mathematical Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools; and the advisory board of the Institute of MERIT (Mathematics Education, Research, and Instructional Technology). Private benefactors and donations from parents of current and past participants fund the program.

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