GSSM Academic Teams Celebrate Wins

November 25, 2014

The SC Governor's School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) celebrates its Academic Teams' recent performance in the Demon Deacon Challenge on Saturday, November 22, 2014 at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. GSSM's Academic Teams, A and B, were among 10 teams from seven schools that competed in the challenge. Team A won all of its nine matches, with an average score of 370 to 87, and qualified for both the High School National Championship Tournament in Chicago and the National Scholastic Championship in Washington, DC.

The students who comprised GSSM’s two Academic Teams were Selen Berkman, daughter of Mert and Minis Berkman of Greenville; Michael B. Bhoi, son of Paul & Karen Bhoi of Beaufort; Blaine Billings, son of Joel and Lindsey Billings of Florence; Zachary Bills, son of Scott & Michelle Bills of Columbia; Ross Ferguson, son of Douglas and Cindy Ferguson of Charleston; Willy Li, son of Nai Guang Li and Xiu Lan Ni of Galivants Ferry; Leanna Moser, daughter of David and Evelyn Moser of McConnells; and Sarah Pierce, daughter of Elizabeth Pierce of Rock Hill.

Zachary Bills, who placed first overall, and Ross Ferguson, who placed seventh overall, were the top scorers for the A team. The A team has gone undefeated for the semester (17-0) with two tournament wins.

The B team had successes as well, including a close match against North Davidson High School and the leading scorer for the B team, Sarah Pierce, was also the 10th highest scorer in the entire tournament.

"The Academic Team has been a committed group this year," said Academic Team Sponsor and GSSM Mathematics Instructor Dr. Gary Salazar. "We have a solid core of students, led by Zach Bills and Ross Ferguson, who have attended both contests this semester and have attended almost every practice. Each person develops their own specialty areas over time. For example, Selen Berkman has been answering all of the computer science-related questions correctly for us. Being a patient listener is definitely required, because you are initially unaware from which academic area the question is coming."

Academic Team members pictured above from left to right are Sarah Pierce, Ross Ferguson and Willy Li, and Academic Team Sponsor Dr. Gary Salazar. Photo by Austin Gibbs '15.

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