The 43rd Newcastle Permanent Primary School Mathematics Competition will be a bittersweet moment for Mervyn Curran.
While delighted about the event’s success over many decades, the long-standing director is retiring this week after 10 years at the helm.
On Wednesday 26 July, more than 20,000 students from in excess of 330 schools across the state are registered to take part… as the man, who created a fresh paper annually, bids farewell.
“It is so great to see the amazing youngsters out there who really love math and excel in it,” Mr Curran said.
“I have always loved receiving feedback from teachers and parents stating how much their kids love the competition.
“Some of the Hunter region schools have been a part of it since 1981.
“It’s terrific to see their loyalty to the competition never waivers.
“Hearing how delighted pupils are to receive their Merit or Distinction certificates, especially in smaller regional schools, is something that I will miss.”
Newcastle Permanent chief distribution officer Paul Juergens extended his thanks to Mr Curran for his years of service.
“Mervyn has been instrumental in the success of our competition during his time in charge,” he said.
“He should be immensely proud of his custodianship of what is an important event for the schools, students and teachers of our regions.
“We wish him all the best in retirement.”
In 2022, four Hunter pupils took out major prizes.
And, with 23 students receiving District Awards, the region’s total number of winners was 27, up from 20 in 2021.
Will they beat their record again this year?
Australia’s largest and longest running competition of its kind, the 2023 edition will follow the previously successful hybrid format, which saw some schools participating on paper, while others chose to compete online.
“I love that we are able to give pupils a challenge that helps them show what they can do or explore talents that they may not have known they had,” Mr Juergens said.
“We see maths skills used in our lives every day, from cooking to playing sports.
“So, it’s exciting that we are able to help students discover the fun in maths, so they enjoy using it.
“This competition isn’t just great for the pupils either.
“Teachers tell us they often take the results and use that to tweak their teaching programs.”
Challenging young minds since 1981, the competition features 35 questions aimed at Years 5 and 6 students from schools across regional NSW.
And, moving it online presents new opportunities to reach more learning institutions and pupils.
“However, the same rules from the very first competition held more than four decades ago still apply,” Mr Juergens said.
“No calculators and no rulers.”
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