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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Academics at All Saints

To Teach As Jesus Did; An "Others" - Centered Curriculum

Why are students SO GOOD at Math at ASCA?


The All Saints Catholic Academy School Community

Celebrates the Incredible Math Success of our Students 


On Saturday, March 72020, 8th grade student Michael Budd, and 7th grade students William Jimenez, Maddie Kirchgessner, and Matthew Budd represented ASCA at the MATHCOUNTS State Championship, having earned an invitation thanks to their strong performance at the regional competition.


Michael Budd placed in the top 4 at State, earning a trip to the national championship in Orlando, FL, to represent the state of Illinois.  The championship would have taken place in May, 2020, and broadcast on ESPN.  This appears to be the first time in the 35+ year history of the competition that a Catholic school student would represent Illinois at nationals. 


ASCA’s four-person team finished in 11th place in the state, competing alongside the largest and most elite public and private schools in Illinois.


Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the national championship competition in Orlando was not held.  Over 90,000 students started the journey toward these championships from all across the country.  Michael would have been among the final 224 students standing who would have brought that journey to a close.  He was excited to compete at the national championship with the rest of Team Illinois, and was ready to compete to win the whole thing.


The Road to the State


At the regional Mathcounts competition, ten ASCA students participated, and All Saints' 4 person team finished in 4th place overall, and for the 4th year in a row, qualified for the State championship.  All Saints is the only school of the 26+ schools that have competed in this region over the past four years with such a streak.


The test at regionals was the most difficult ever created by MATHCOUNTS.   Advancing to State not only required placing high enough as a team at this competitive event, it also required achieving a predefined minimum score.  With the extreme difficulty of the test this year, only half as many teams qualified for State compared with just two years ago.   In other words, to advance, not only did the students have to beat most schools in the region, they had to perform at a very high level on an unusually difficult test!




Regional Highlights


  • Individually, Michael Budd placed 6thWilliam Jimenez placed 9th, and Matthew Budd placed 13th, which marked the 1st time ever that All Saints has had two students in the top 10, and three students in the top 25.


  • All Saints Catholic Academy was the only Catholic school competing in the region this year, and one of only approximately 10 Catholic schools still competing in this challenging competition across the State of Illinois.


The event also featured a game show style countdown round in which each school set up one student to compete against the best of the other schools.  The round was "for fun", and used to give the volunteers time to finish grading, though school pride is always on the line.  In the designated format, two students competed at a time, with the first to "buzz in" with a correct answer advancing to the next opponent.


Michael represented ASCA, and was called up first.  Michael won, and won, and won again, and again, and again......., proceeding to defeat the best of every school in the region, ultimately facing off against the defending champ.  This final match of titans was a best of three, in which Michael lost 2-1, just getting edged out on the buzzer.  Not only is it challenging to answer these questions correctly under pressure, it can be even more daunting to do it in front of hundreds of students and parents. 


Michael's display was truly incredible, and not likely to be repeated anytime soon.  Not surprisingly, both young men ended up on the National team.


US Math Olympic Qualification


In addition to the MATHCOUNTS competition for junior high students, Michael also participated in the AMC competition series.  After achieving distinguished honor roll, top 1% nationwide, on the AMC 8 last fall, he participated in the AMC 10/12 for high school students, the first step in the qualification process for the US Olympic and Junior Olympic teams.  


Michael took the AMC 10 at Benet Academy with their top math students and, along with an MIT-bound senior, qualified for the next level of the competition, the 3 hour AIME examination (a level of achievement that is reached by only about 250 eighth graders across the country annually).


Unfortunately, this competition was also cancelled, though Michael will still have four more years to continue his studies on recursions, combinatorics, modular arithmetic, graph theory (aka Good Will Hunting), and try again next year.


Michael's amazing accomplishments have been a testament to hard work - since last school year alone, he has completed about 9,000 math problems, and counting.  Beyond the work ethic, he is grateful for the help and support of his family, the outstanding ASCA junior high faculty, his fellow ASCA Math Team teammates and competitors, all who supported Michael on this journey.  Lastly, we can not discount the benefits of a Catholic education rooted in excellence, and grounded in faith.   


Our All Saints school community congratulates Michael, and wishes him all the best as he graduates, and moves on to Benet Academy this fall.  May his hard work, humility, and accomplishment serve as an inspiration to those who follow him, those who aspire to be the best, and those who wish to represent All Saints at the highest level.   



We congratulate and celebrate ALL of our ASCA students who competed in math competitions throughout this school year.






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