Jun 2, 2016
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In its second year, this local middle school program has become something students can count on.

The growing math club at Pinole Middle School that was spearheaded by a Chevron engineer and supported by the company, teachers and school administrators held its 2nd Annual Math 24 Tournament on Wednesday.

The tournament enjoyed an increase in participants from last year. The champions of Wednesday’s tournament are pictured below. Chevron volunteers who helped out at the tournament are pictured in the very last photo of this story.

“This year we have six tables, a lot more than last year which was a little under four tables,” said Tongji Li, also known as Youyou, who is an Oronite Development Program Engineer at Chevron. “We have 24 students [competing]. That’s pretty good for a Math 24 Tournament.”

In just two years and with help from several of her Chevron colleagues, Youyou has created a program in West County that is producing Mathletes.

The Pinole Middle School Math Club holds two competitions annually, including MathCounts and Math 24.


In the meantime, they practice math as if they’re athletes prepping for the big tournament. We wrote a profile on the program last year.

“I watch these kids grow, and how they started with this game…we went through patterns and rules and thought processes and how to make your mind more agile,” Youyou said. “And to watch the speed at which they grow and the speed at which they play this game right now, it’s incredible. It’s so rewarding.”

Li says the program enjoyed an 80-percent retention rate among students who participated last year and is attracting interest from new students. She hopes to involve other schools in after-school math instruction and competition.


The program has the support of teachers and administrators at Pinole Middle School, which isn’t a surprise considering the math proficiency of participating students has increased.

Before the start of Thursday’s math tournament, Vice Principal Eric Bankston publicly thanked Youyou, Chevron and other community partners for instilling in students a “thirst, appreciate, and truly a fitness for math.”

“Remember,” Bankston told students, “in math, it’s OK to make mistakes.”



About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.