Preparing Boys for Life

A Haverford School first: Upper School student advances to next round of AMC mathematics competition

Shibo Zhou, a fifth former, participated in the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO) in April. The event is regarded as one of the most prestigious and competitive mathematics competitions in the country. The competition is the last step in a process for qualifying for the USA Math Olympic camp, which trains for the Global Math Olympiad. Participants are invited to take part in the USAMO based on scores in the American Mathematics Competition. 

Zhou is the first student in Haverford School history to earn an invitation to the USAMO. 

“We have had some great competitors in the past and currently have a group of tremendously dedicated math students,” said Sam Walters, Upper School math teacher. “In a time where there are some wonderful and unique accomplishments from our math students, this is a truly special feat.”

The USAMO takes place over two days, each for five hours. Students work on three problems each day. According to the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), the problems included in the USAMO are challenging to most professional mathematicians. 

Shibo has been especially focused on achieving this qualification since I first met him as a Form III student. The entire Upper School is excited for him and really proud of his dedication and effort.

“Shibo has been especially focused on achieving this qualification since I first met him as a Form III student,” said Nate Bridge, Upper School math teacher. “The entire Upper School is excited for him and really proud of his dedication and effort.” 

The MAA further notes that the USAMO “provides a means of identifying and encouraging the most creative secondary mathematics students in the country. It serves to indicate the talent of those who may become leaders in the mathematical sciences of the next generation.” 

Zhou joined other Haverford School students by taking part in the AMC competition, which is open to any student. Four students qualified for the next round of the American Invitational Math Competition (AMIE), which is a three-hour competition with fifteen problems to complete.

Zhou earned exceptional marks on both the AMC and the AIME examinations, leading him to be invited to the USAMO. Students who perform well on the USAMO are invited to train with the US Mathematics Olympics team.