What does your child or grandchild want to do for a living when he or she is grown? Game designer, engineer, doctor, nurse, pilot, accountant, meteorologist, banker, real estate agent, purchasing agent, builder, business owner?

Almost every conceivable job today requires good math skills. The more math skills children acquire, the better their job prospects.

Many colleges and professional organizations promote excellence in mathematics through competitions. Heritage Middle School math teacher Charlene Higgins has been coaching students for two math competitions for a number of years now, and her students consistently win.

On Feb. 8, the HMS team won the regional Georgia MATHCOUNTS competition conducted in Rome by the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers (GSPE). The team will represent HMS at the state competition in Atlanta on March 18.

On Feb. 19, the HMS team took first place at the Berry College Math Competition. They competed against 11 other schools from the Northwest Georgia region. HMS also placed first at the Berry College Math Competition in September 2018.

“I am so proud of the students for giving up part of their winter break to compete,” says Higgins. “And I’m amazed by team member Emily Linn who took first place individually at both competitions. She works very hard to prepare to compete.”

Higgins says GSPE has been concerned about a decline in the number of students entering college to major in engineering and technology fields. “They’ve become a strong advocate and host of the Georgia MATHCOUNTS competitions to encourage students at the middle school level to strive for excellence in math and science.”

“Enjoying the thrill of core academic classes in math and science at the middle school level will lay the groundwork for youth to recognize the importance of the subjects as they mature into young adults and make career choices,” says Higgins.

Tamara Wolk is a reporter for The Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga., and Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga.