Westwood Middle School whiz kid named ambassador to world games

by Elyse Kaner
Staff Writer

Westwood Middle School has a young ambassador in its midst.

Sayan: Sayan Das, a sixth-grader at Westwood Middle School, was recently named as an ambassador to World Education Games 2012. Photo by Elyse Kaner

Sayan Das, a sixth-grader with a knack for high rankings in computer contests, recently learned he has been named a U.S. Ambassador to the World Education Games 2012.

The online competition hosted by New York-based 3P Learning USA was held March 6-8.

“I was happy. I’m surprised,” Sayan said about being selected one of four world ambassadors. Especially when he was called down to the office in the middle of math class and Principal Paula Hoff told him to close his eyes.

He opened them to find a new Galaxy electronic tablet, compliments of 3P Learning USA as part of a kit that went along with his new appointment.

As ambassador, Sayan’s duties are to raise awareness of the World Education Games, encourage countries to participate and raise funds for UNICEF.

3P Learning USA partners with UNICEF to raise funds to purchase school materials for students in third-world countries.

“Sayan will be a fabulous ambassador because he is confident and comfortable in talking with others,” Hoff said last week before the games. “He is promoting math in a positive way for other students.”

Last year, at the suggestion of his fifth-grade teacher Doug Cox of Westwood Intermediate School, Sayan decided to compete in the 2011 American Math Challenge. Sayan took first place in the nation among 71,969 participants and 14th in the world in the competition.

“We are very proud of Sayan’s past performances in our events and are pleased to say that he was our first pick for a U.S. Ambassador to the World Education Games,” said Alex Dalrymple, operations manager at 3P Learning USA.

“We elected him because he was the number one student in America in the (2011) American Math Challenge event. We’re very, very proud of him.”

But Sayan’s talents don’t center on math only. Last year, he placed first in the World Spelling Day contest in his age category.

As an ambassador, Sayan’s duties also entailed writing a blog. In his first post, he introduced himself. In a second, he wished competitors well on the day of the games. The last blog involved discussing the game results.

Nearly 5.5 millions students from around the world competed in the 2012 World Education Games, according to 3P Learning USA.

World Education Games was formerly called World Math, Spelling and Science Day.

Guinness record

Started in 2007, World Math Day is now held annually the first week of March.

The competition, which began the launch of the World Education Games, has grown from 286,000 student participants from 98 countries to more than two million taking part in 2010. The games include math, spelling and, most recently, science.

In 2010, the games set a Guinness World Record for the largest online math competition.

3P Learning USA online competitions are aimed at school-aged students with its flagship Mathletics, a game engine allowing students globally to compete live against each other in answering mental arithmetic questions.

Elyse Kaner is at [email protected]