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Deaf Middle School Math Team Competes In National Competition

The FSDB Deaf Middle School (DMS) Math team traveled to Rochester, NY to take part in the National Math Competition. The event took place April 3-5, 2019 at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) on the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) campus.

The FSDB team made up of eighth-graders took 4th place in the team competition category. Brieillys Colon-Mendez, Katarzyna Horvath, Geoffrey Porter, and Daniel Pletenets worked all year to prepare for the competition, coached by DMS Math teachers Carolyn Cervantes and Donna O’Neill. The team met twice a week during lunchtime from September until April. The coaches gave up their own time to plan each meeting, teach, make travel arrangements, and take the students to two annual competitions (one at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville and the other at RIT).

Out of 168 participants, FSDB students ranked 9th, 11th, 63rd, and 80th based on individual scores (in random order to preserve student identities).

"We are so proud of their accomplishments, and the experience is a great opportunity for them. I loved cheering for them on the sidelines and seeing how much their hard work has paid off," said Ms. Cervantes.

Ms. O'Neill stated that her favorite part of the team is enjoying how students' math comprehension grew over time and to see their faces when they arrived at RIT and made new friends from across the nation including Canada.

“The students worked hard and never gave up on their goal of ranking high at the NTID/RIT Math Competition,“ said Patty Liller, Deaf Middle School Assistant Principal.

In the Words of FSDB Students

“I love my math team because we work hard together.” –Katarzyna Horvath
“The math team is good for me because it helps me understand math and solve problems.” –Brieillys Colon-Mendez
“I joined the math team because I love math and I gain experience from the competitions. The fun part of the NTID trip is meeting and making new friends.” –Daniel Pletenets
“I enjoy being able to learn about different math concepts that we have not studied yet in our curriculum.” –Geoffrey Porter

About the Competition

The NTID/RIT Math Competition consists of five separate events, as follows:

Team Problem Solving Challenge—This challenge lasts 45 minutes and consists of 10 problems that team members must work together to solve.

Sprint Round—This round has competitors working on an individual basis. It lasts 40 minutes and consists of 30 problems, each of which tests accuracy with time being such that only the most capable students will complete all of the problems.

Target Round—This round has the competitor working individually. It lasts approximately 24 minutes and consists of eight problems, each of which features multi-step problems that engage students in mathematical reasoning and problem-solving processes.

Team Countdown Round—This is a fast-paced, written competition for top-scoring teams (based on scores in all rounds and the Team Problem Solving Challenge). In this round, pairs of teams compete against each other and the clock to solve problems.

Individual Countdown Round—This is a fast-paced, written competition for top-scoring individuals (based on scores in the Sprint and Target Rounds). In this round, pairs of students compete against each other and the clock to solve problems.


About FSDB

The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is a tuition-free state public school and outreach center available to eligible Pre-K and K-12 students who are deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired, or deafblind. At FSDB, students learn how to do more, be more, and achieve more, fulfilling our vision of preparing them for a lifetime of success. FSDB gratefully accepts private donations to support vital programs that directly benefit students and are not paid by state general revenue funds. For a campus tour or to inquire about eligibility for enrollment, contact FSDB Parent Services at 904-827-2212 voice or 904-201-4527 videophone. For more information, visit


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