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Alpharetta Student Ranked as Eighth Finalist in 2017 Raytheon MATHCOUNTS® National Competition; GA State Team Finishes Fourth

Posted by Sener


Holden Watson, a 13-year-old eighth-grader from Fulton Science Academy Private School in Alpharetta, GA, ranked as the eighth finalist and Countdown Round Qualifier at the 2017 Raytheon MATHCOUNTS® National Competition. The event, which brought together more than 200 of the nation’s brightest middle school math minds, took place May 13-16 at the Hilton Orlando, Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Watson was invited to the elite Countdown Round of the 2017 Raytheon MATHCOUNTS® National Competition, during which the 12 Mathletes® with the highest written test scores competed in head-to-head matchups for the title of 2017 National Champion. The live round was webcast by ESPN, with viewers tuning in from all over the world.

“I went into this competition hopeful that I could secure a spot in the top 12 and participate in the live, Countdown Round. That goal was reached. It felt amazing to be on such a huge stage among so many tough competitors. I’m also very proud of my fellow state teammates who helped Georgia finish FOURTH in the country. I’m so happy!” said Watson.

Georgia’s impressive fourth place finish grabbed attention and accolades at the event. For the second year in a row, Georgia won the “Most Improved Team” award for their impressive trajectory. In only two short years, Georgia has advanced from 28thplace to fourth in the country, the highest ranking ever achieved in the state’s history, according to Betty Jean Jordan, Executive Director of the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers and Sponsor of the Georgia MATHCOUNTS® Program.

FSA Math Department Chair and Team Coach Sema Duzyol said, “I cannot put my feelings into words, except to say that I couldn’t be more proud of these four exceptional students.”

Eighth graders William Shi (River Trail Middle School, Johns Creek); Holden Watson (Fulton Science Academy Private School, Alpharetta); Aaron Yu (Westminster Schools, Atlanta); and Lawrence Zhou (Trickum Middle School, Lilburn) made history together representing Georgia as one cohesive team at the 2017 National MATHCOUNTS® Competition. Although they all came from different schools and juggle their own rigorous and demanding academic and extracurricular schedules, the boys representing Georgia's state team met and practiced regularly before the event.

Coach Duzyol commented, “Our team is one of only four that achieved a perfect score during the team round of 2017 National MATHCOUNTS! To have the honor of coaching a state team of this caliber two years in a row has been an incredibly meaningful experience. These kids and their enthusiasm do so much to encourage and inspire those around them.”

She added, “It is such an inspiration to work together with these students; their shared love of math and the positive manner in which they encourage one another is really something special.”

While Georgia brings home an impressive fourth-place finish, Texas walked away with first place for the second consecutive year, followed by New Jersey (second), and California (third).

This is the ninth year that Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has served as title sponsor of the MATHCOUNTS® National Competition as part of its global commitment to science, technology, engineering, and math education.

Holden Watson was among 224 competitors from all 50 states, plus U.S. territories and schools that serve the U.S. State and Defense departments, who traveled to Orlando after earning a spot in the national competition. More than 100,000 students participated in the local and state competitions that led to this weekend's event. This year's competition was the 34th in the MATHCOUNTS Foundation's history.

"The Mathletes who competed this year have demonstrated exceptional skill and perseverance,” said Lou DiGioia, executive director of MATHCOUNTS®. "The Georgia team proves how much students can accomplish with hard work, passion and dedicated teachers who support them."

About Fulton Science Academy Private School

Fulton Science Academy Private School (FSAPS) has fostered a “yearn to learn” culture where students embrace an innovative, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) curriculum. FSA’s study body (Pre-K through high school) is diverse and reflects award-winning academic teams, competitive athletes, personal entrepreneurs, professional working actors, and award-winning critical thinkers. Built upon core values of excellence, innovation, and character, FSAPS has engineered a school of tomorrow, today. In 2016, the school received an Excellence in STEM Education award from the Technology Association of Georgia and was voted Best Private School by Appen Media. The school’s Math Team brought home more than a dozen trophies and competed in various competitions during the 2016-2017 school year. FSA is based in Alpharetta, GA. For more information, please visit

About MATHCOUNTS Foundation

MATHCOUNTS is a nonprofit organization that strives to engage middle school students of all ability and interest levels in fun, challenging math programs, in order to expand their academic and professional opportunities. Middle school students exist at a critical juncture in which their love for mathematics must be nurtured, or their fear of mathematics must be overcome. For more than 30 years, MATHCOUNTS has provided free, high-quality resources to educators and enriching, extracurricular opportunities to students to lay a foundation for future success. Materials and information are available at

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