Oakland holds first district-wide math bee

December 12, 2008 5:44:02 PM PST
It was the Super Bowl of math contests for students participating in the Oakland Unified School District's first annual math competition.

At first there were 20 students participating in the spelling bee-like contest -- all champions from their own schools.

One by one they went down until there were just two.

The winner's purse was a $100 target gift certificate.

It was a very difficult math problem to solve: 874 multiplied by seven.

But there could only be one winner; that honor went to eight-year-old Jordan Phal from Allendale Elementary School. Phal says he actually, really likes math.

"It's easy for me; I study math and I learn new facts," Phal said.

There were no sore losers at the math bee.

"I can't believe I won second place and all those people who are out in my family I just want to say 'hi,'" second place winner Skye Evans said.

So just what exactly does a third grade math whiz buy with a $100 gift certificate?

A calculator?

"No, I don't want to cheat," Phal said.

He does not know yet, but he'll figure it out.