Students Recognized in County Math Contest

Congratulations to Mount Madonna School’s (MMS) fifth grade participants for receiving a 3rd Place team award in the 45th annual Santa Cruz County Math Contest, held earlier this month at Aptos High School.

Fifth graders Camden Diskowski, Eleanor Harrington, Jules Barivan, Nico Panzardi and Noah Kaplan received their award on May 22 during a public reception hosted by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. In addition to this team, a sixth grade team – Carl Ward, Indigo Kelly, Lekha Duvvoori, and William Murphy – also participated. The MMS students competed with more than 300 fifth through eighth grade students from 21 schools county-wide, and were coached by parent Jo-Ann Panzardi, who is also an instructor and chair of the engineering department at Cabrillo College.

“Math and science are very important to me, personally, and I wanted to convey to the students the important role these both play in various careers,” explains Panzardi. “My goals for this group were to help them figure out how to work together as a team to solve math problems, and to understand the importance of showing their work in an organized manner. I was impressed that in the midst of taking the math test, the fifth grade team decided to approach the test in a different way than they had agreed upon during their practice sessions. This showed real teamwork and a great ability to adjust their strategy under pressure.”

“Learning to solve math problems as a team replicates the way math is used in the real world,” comments Supriya McDonald, MMS Head of Lower School. “Our students enjoy working together on problems daily in their classrooms, and the Santa Cruz County Challenge allows them to test their teamwork and individual skills.”


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, Marketing & Communications,

Nestled among the redwoods on 355 mountaintop acres, Mount Madonna is a safe and nurturing college-preparatory school that supports students in becoming caring, self-aware and articulate critical thinkers, who are prepared to meet challenges with perseverance, creativity and integrity. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville.