Title of Project: Lakehead University Northwestern Ontario High School Mathematics Competition

Year of Competition: 2007-2009

Grant amount: $1,500/yr for three years

Project Duration: Multi-Year

Type of Report: Annual

Period Covered: 2007

Description of Activity:

The Fifth Annual Lakehead University Northwestern Ontario High School Mathematics Competition was held on April 25, 2007 at Lakehead University's campus. Over 140 high school students spent the day on campus, plus approximately another 20 students in more remote regions of Northwestern Ontario took part in their own schools. This was our best ever attendance.

Our contest consists of two parts. In the morning, the students write the individual portion of the contest. In the afternoon, students from the same school are broken up into teams and take part in the team portion of the competition. As part of the contest, students are given free T-shirts and a free lunch.

About one week after the contest, the Department of Mathematical Sciences hosts an awards ceremony. Prizes are awarded to the top ten students in both the senior and junior categories for the individual contest. Prizes are also awarded to the top three teams in both the senior and junior categories. We also have another set of prizes for schools who participated at their own schools.

Assessment of Effectiveness:

Unlike other mathematics contest which are interested in identifying "superstars", our contest is intended to encourage and to stimulate the mathematical talents and interests of local area students. As well, we are interested in involving schools in the rural areas of Northwestern Ontario, areas that do not necessarily have the same opportunities as the more urban regions of the country.

As outlined in our grant application, our goal was to use the CMS Endowment Grant to attract more schools in the rural regions of Northwestern Ontario. (For the first four years, we only had schools from within Thunder Bay participate). This past year Atikokan High School sent a team to Thunder Bay. This was the first time a school from outside of Thunder Bay came to the city for the day. Lake Superior High School (Terrace Bay) and Geraldton Composite School participated at their own school. Money from the CMS Endowment grant was used to pay for prizes and mailing costs associated to the participation for these schools.

Besides the grant received from the CMS, our contest has received donations and/or prizes from:

  • TD Canada Trust
  • BMO Nesbitt Burns
  • Thunder Bay Ventures
  • Thunder Bay Hydro
  • TBT Engineering
  • Engineering Northwest
  • Lakehead University Bookstore
  • Lakehead University Student Union
  • Lakehead University Office of Admissions
  • VP (Academic) Lakehead University
Future Plans (if any):

The Department of Mathematical Sciences of Lakehead University is once again preparing for our annual contest. We have already set a provisional date of April 30, 2008 for this year's contest. At this stage, we have approached the various schools about this date, and we have contacted past donors of the contest.

One of our goals is to significantly increase the participation rate of the high schools in the more rural areas of Northwestern Ontario. As noted above, we had three school from outside of Thunder Bay participate. However, there are approximately another 20 schools that could participate. Our greatest difficulty has been trying to establish a line of communication with these schools. We are gradually building a database of contacts.

Our committee has been discussing ways to increase our participation rate. One of the ideas we plan to pursue is to use the money from CMS endowment grant to cover some of the costs of schools to travel and/or stay in Thunder Bay for the contest.


The following is a summary of the financial situation of the contest:

CMS Endowment Grant$1,500
TD Canada Trust$3,900
Thunder Bay Hydro$500
Thunder Bay Ventures$500
TBT Engineering$500
BMO Nesbitt Burns$500
VP (Academic)$500
Engineering Northwest$150
Contest Preparation$1,500

Note that our total expenses were significantly less than our revenue because the T-shirt costs were a lot less than we expected. Due to the generosity of the Office of Admissions, we received all the T-shirts for free, instead of paying for them as in previous years. All we had to do was the printing. In the future, we will probably have to pay an additional $1,000-$1,500 for T-shirts.

The contest committee has also been debating whether we should set aside some money to start an entrance prize for incoming students to Lakehead University. The idea is to give a $500 entrance prize to the top Grade 12 student who is planning to attend Lakehead University. We are currently discussing this option with our donors.

Contact Name: Adam Van Tuyl

[November 26, 2007]