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For week ended November 14, 1999 Posted 14 Nov 1999

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Math whiz's life is more than by-the-numbers

Summarized by Vickie Speek

Math whiz's life is more than by-the-numbers
Lincoln NE Journal Star 8Nov99 P2
By Joanne Young: Lincoln Journal Star

In 30 years of teaching mathematics, Lincoln Northeast High School instructor Jim Campbell has seen a lot of kids who were good with numbers, but 15-year old Tristan Skrdla-Markwell transcends the others. He's on a different plane," Campbell said.

Students on Tristan's level, talk about numbers in a different way, about loving the theoretical nature of the problems, the elegance of algebra and calculus. Tristan, a LDS sophomore, attracted attention last year when he tied for first place out of 1,218 students on the first round of individual competition at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Math Day. The Northeast High School team he was on also took first place in the Class A Math Bowl Tournament. He will compete again this year.

"I've been interested in math as long as I can remember, at least since kindergarten . . . preschool, maybe," Tristan said. He was good back then, too. Now, in his second year of high school, Tristan has progressed through some high-level courses, but has no desire to graduate early. He gets enjoyment out of most things he does -- homework, scrimmaging for Academic Decathlon competitions or hanging with friends and playing video games. "With an extra year of high school, you get that many more courses for free," he said.

After high school, Tristan plans to complete a two year mission for his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "It will basically be the main thing I use as a transition to become a man. I'll come back ready for the real world and the rest of my life," Tristan said.

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information