For this new edition of #HowWeGotThis, we are exchanging with Madeleine de BELLOY de SAINT LIENARD, Gr10 student (Seconde), who has recently been selected to participate in “Préparation Olympique Française de Mathématiques”, (POFM) - the French preparation for the International Mathematical Olympiad.
She is telling us more about this competition, and what’s ahead for her in the next few months, as well as how the pandemic has affected her, as student at LFSF.
LFSF : Hi Madeleine, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! Could you please introduce yourself and tell us about your background (where you were born, where you lived, what are your passions and hobbies)?
Madeleine: Hello! Thank you for giving me a chance to speak about POFM. I'm French-American and have been at LFSF since the third grade (CE2). Before that, my family lived in a number of different places including Paris, Mauritius, and Austin, Texas. I have three brothers who are also students at LFSF. Outside of school, I like to ski, horseback ride, and just spend time with my friends.
LFSF : You have just been selected to participate in “Préparation Olympique Française de Mathématiques”, the French preparation of the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). Congratulations! Can you explain what this contest is about? How did you learn about it and what was the selection process like?
Madeleine: The IMO is a competition in which many countries field a team to compete in mathematics. I first heard about it through my math teachers and Natalie Bitton, the Director of the College Counseling department. Because I was interested in math, I thought it might be a good idea to see if I could qualify. The selection process is a series of math tests with problems of increasing difficulty. The last couple problems are almost impossible to solve in the alloted time.
LFSF: So what is the process from now on? What are the steps to be selected to compete in the IMO?
Madeleine: I've been admitted to a training program that will prepare a number of students to solve math Olympiad-style problems. Every year, six students are selected to represent France in the competition. The selection is based on monthly tests that are usually 3 or 4 hours long. As a sophomore, I will not be able to be selected this year but perhaps later on.
Madeleine (on the bottom right) and LFSF students, holding her certificate of participation to the "Nuit du Coding", the coding night event in 2019.
LFSF: What would it mean to you if you were selected and what the competition would look like?
Madeleine: I would love to be selected and compete on behalf of France. The competition is held in varying countries depending on the year and is essentially a very hard math test. The IMO is extremely prestigious and it would be a great opportunity to get into the math world. Even if I don't get selected, training in math-olympiad style problems will definitely develop my problem-solving skills, which will be useful in my future studies and career.
LFSF: How would you describe your support group - your family, your teachers- in this adventure? How did they take your good news and how will they help you during the preparation?
Madeleine: My current and former math teachers, M. Concy, M. Legatelois and M. Navaux, have kindly been helping me train for the monthly math tests. The school is also hosting the math tests. My parents think it's great that I've been afforded this opportunity.
LFSF: No matter the outcome of the preparation, we have to tell you that we are very proud to have you represent the LFSF in the POFM!! It is very inspiring for teachers and students alike, no doubt, and such positive news in the current challenging context. How would you describe the impact the Covid-19 crisis has had on your life as a student ?
Madeleine: I think overall the impact hasn't been too hard. We're really lucky to live in Marin where it's easy to get outdoors when you need a break. During quarantine I even picked up some new sports such as windsurfing. I do miss my friends and perhaps my biggest regret is having to cancel our annual trip back to France to see family. Hopefully, next year I’ll get to see them! School-wise, I have a good technology setup and LFSF online classes were very organized making things easy for us. I have settled into my online classes but I am looking forward to going back on campus!
Madeleine and her set-up during distance learning
LFSF : The Ortega campus is now reopening its doors to High School students. How do you feel about going back on campus?
Madeleine: I can't wait! I'm particularly excited to see some of my friends in-person again.
LFSF : This new academic year is already very promising for you! What can we wish you?
Madeleine: Please wish me good luck for my next math test this Friday!
Madeleine (on the left) and her classmates in 2019.
#HowWeGotThis is our series of testimonials showing how our teams and community are pioneering, reinventing themselves and imagine new ways to operate in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.