By John McGurl

The Benito Middle School MathCounts Team is one step closer to competing in the annual MathCounts National Competition, which will be held in Orlando on Friday, May 11.

Coached by Janet Veon, the Benito MatchCounts team took first place at the 2012 Hillsborough County Regional MathCounts competition.

Benito’s talented team used their math and problem-solving skills to outsmart the competition at the regional competition this year. Won Cho of Benito took first place overall in the individual segment. Teammate Owen Benefiel grabbed fifth place, while Anju Pradeep took eighth place and Clarice Su snagged 23rd.

Solving difficult math problems after the last bell rings may not sound like an enjoyable after-school activity, but the MathCounts program has been showing interested students the importance of math for 29 years, using a competition setting to make it more exciting than the typical textbook assignment.

Sponsored by the Florida Engineering Society, MathCounts is an after-school club that supports mathematic achievements among middle school students around the country by providing them with an opportunity to showcase the skills they have acquired in a competitive setting — and what they need to progress to higher education and beyond.

The Benito team first moves on to the state finals, which also will be held in Orlando, on Friday, March 30, at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel at the entrance to Universal Studios’ Orlando theme park.

Each individual member of the Benito team will be competing to be one of only 224 students who move on to the national MathCounts competition in May.

For additional information about the MathCounts program, visit or


Wharton Student Art Exhibited At The Dali

Four art students from New Tampa’s Paul R. Wharton High have been featured at the newly revamped Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg in an exhibit entitled “Strangely Familiar.” Of course, the outstanding artist Salvador Dali was known as a surrealist, meaning his art shows elements of surprise that most would deem as weird. All of the students featured in the exhibit put forth art that is both appealing and, in many cases, at least somewhat shocking.

Judy Oliveri, Wharton High’s art teacher, says she is proud to have four of her students’ art featured in the exhibit: Adrienne Garcia, Sandy Roy-Gauthier, Briauna Wyant, Jeremy Hernandez-Velez. She says that being displayed at a museum dedicated to one of the most famous artists of all time is a once-in-a-lifetime honor that none of the students featured will forget. The exhibit, which debuted on March 6, will be up through the end of March.

For more information about the Dali Museum (1 Dali Blvd., St. Petersburg), call (727) 823-3767 or visit

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