One bright young student represented the Mid-Ohio Valley in a statewide math competition despite several challenges he and his school have faced this year.
Henry Corcoran is an 11 year old 6th grade student at Veritas Classical Academy in Marietta and is one of the school’s students who competed at this year’s state level MathCounts competition. Despite being undoubtedly good at math, Henry said he actually… doesn’t really care for it.
“Honestly, I don’t like math,” laughed Corcoran. “The tests are stressful because they are timed and I didn’t really study that much.”
These “stressful” hour and a half long tests were part of the MathCounts competition that Corcoran qualified for earlier in the school year. Corcoran first took a school wide test that was administered to all students at Veritas where he scored high enough to take the local level test and then the regional test. After obtaining a high enough regional score, Corcoran took the statewide test on Thursday, March 25th.
Although math is not his favorite subject, Corcoran said he understands the importance of trying new things even if they may not seem easy or enjoyable at first—a character trait that his math teacher, Arielle Taylor, said the school tries to instill in its students.
“One of our virtues is fortitude and in the face of difficulty or something you don’t want to do, you do it anyway. So, there may be some things that Henry is not too excited about but he plugs on and does them anyway and that’s part of building a virtuous character for us,” Taylor said.
In addition to having to overcome his initial dislike of math, Henry also faced some challenges when he got COVID-19 this school year. “I had to stay home for two weeks and it was hard to do because when we shut down last year it was for everybody,” Corcoran said.
Due to Veritas Academy not having any computers nor the technology to support online/virtual schooling, Corcoran received packets of school work for the two weeks he was out this school year as well as packets last school year when the school shut down in March.
“Packets are easier than actually going to school but it feels kind of unorganized—especially with Latin,” Corcoran said.
“Yah, try teaching yourself Latin!” Taylor laughed.
Thankfully, Corcoran was able to recover from COVID and return to school so he could prepare for the MathCounts competition—an endeavour that both Corcoran and the entire Academy have never done before.
“This is the first time we have done this and it is a little out of the norm this year because it’s all online,” Taylor said. “Each test they take is an hour and a half long so they have been at it and at it taking these tests and the dedication has just been amazing.”
Corcoran took all tests and studied for the state exam at home on top of his already packed schedule.
“The last test was on Thursday too and Thursdays are really hard because I have to go to school and then I have violin for an hour and it takes 30 minutes to get there and 30 minutes to get back, and then I get home and I have homework to do too,” Corcoran said. “And then to take an hour and a half test and then come to school on Friday – it’s a lot,” Taylor added.
Despite Corcoran’s busy schedule, he is able to show up to school every day and put his best food forward. “Mr. Corcoran is an excellent student. He’s always participating and always knows what he’s talking about, Dr. Newman, Headmaster at Veritas.
“This achievement in particular is incredible. This is the first year and the farthest we have ever gone [in the competition] and it’s very impressive.”
Another reason Dr. Newman, Mrs. Taylor and the entire school are impressed with Corcoran is because of how young he is. “He’s very young for this competition too because it’s open to 6th, 7th and 8th graders and he’s just a 6th grader. So, he could come back and do it next year,” Taylor said.
Taylor, who suggested that the school enter the competition, said she is humbled by Corcoran’s dedication and is proud that he represented the MOV in this competition.
“We are competing against bigger schools that have competed in this for years that have practiced before school and after school. We are not only representing our little school but the entire Mid Ohio Valley—it’s such an honor,” Taylor said.
Other academic goals Corcoran hopes to achieve during his time at Veritas is to continue to compete in a different competition—the spelling bee. “I really like spelling. I was also in the regional spelling bee and I actually like spelling,” Corcoran said as his eyes lit up with pride.
Competing in multiple academic competitions, balancing extracurriculars, and overcoming COVID has proven to be challenging for Corcoran, but he has proven he can be resilient and meet the goals he and his team of educators set out to achieve.
“These kids deserve recognition. They put in the time and they are representing our little school and our community and our state,” Taylor said.
“Right, Henry?” Taylor said to the young mathematician, ‘’we are out here representing our community and we are all cheering you on.”