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25th year of math contest marks College Professor’s retirement
Okanagan College Media Release

In a game of numbers, 25 holds particular significance for Okanagan College Math Professor Dr. Clint Lee. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the British Columbia Secondary School Mathematics Contest (BCSSMC), founded and chaired by Lee since its inception in 1990 and hosted at Okanagan College.

“I could have retired last year from the College, but I wanted to hang on for just one more year specifically to see the math contest to this important milestone,” says Lee, who is announcing his retirement after 25 years of teaching at the College. “It’s a highlight of my career, to know that thousands of students were engaged in mathematics over the course of 25 years, some of whom as a result were inspired to continue their studies at the post-secondary level to become scientists, doctors, and even professors.

“I am proud to be able to call this my legacy.”

On Friday, May 1 Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus will host nearly 90 of the brightest high school mathematicians from 15 schools in the region for the annual contest. Competing in either of two categories – juniors (Grade 8 to 10) and seniors (Grade 11 and 12) – students have the morning to complete multiple choice and long hand questions that will test their logic and mathematical skills. Adding a level of challenge: no calculators are allowed. 

At an afternoon awards ceremony that same day, the top senior student will be awarded a one-semester tuition scholarship to either Okanagan College or UBC Okanagan (co-sponsor of the contest), to a maximum value of $3,000. Top finishers in each category also earn prizes ranging from $50 to $200.

“It’s important for students to have an opportunity to be recognized for their achievements in math, and to see the community engage in the conversation,” notes Lee.

Okanagan College Salmon Arm student Jonathan Bakker, studying his Associate of Science Degree, agrees. Participating in five contests throughout Grade 8 to 12, in his final year, last year, he earned an impressive second-place finish in the senior division. “I’ve always been interested in math, but more than that, the contest helped me practice problem solving, time management, and analytical skills which are definitely applicable in my studies at the College, and beyond,” says Bakker. “It’s about trying to approach a problem from different angles and applying different theories to get to the solution.”

Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton recognized Lee for his many years of teaching at the College, and broader contribution to the education community. 

“Clint has done tremendous work to foster a keen interest in young students for the mathematics discipline,” said Hamilton. “We commend him for his dedication, passion, and determination each year to coordinate this event, and going above and beyond his teaching commitments here at the College.”

Stepping into the role of contest coordinator for 2016 will be Leslie Shayer, along with Satoshi Tomoda, both Mathematics Professors at Okanagan College. 

The Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC), Mathtoons Media, and the Canadian Mathematics Society (CMS) proudly sponsor the BCSSMC.