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,"