It’s Not Where You Start, but How You Finish - Capital Area Food Bank
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It’s Not Where You Start, but How You Finish

By Jeremi Mathis May 1, 2013

kids-with-trophyHow many fourth graders do you know who choose to spend their school recess doing math problems?
Well, that’s exactly what students at Simon Elementary School in Southeast Washington had been doing just before the school was crowned champion of the First in Math March Madness competition.
Simon Elementary is one of the many schools in which the Capital Area Food Bank sponsors a food pantry, and the excitement of both students and faculty after their championship was oozing like a jelly-filled donut after the first bite!
Following the lead of the NCAA College Hoops March Madness hysteria, the DC public schools created and hosted a district-wide First in Math March Madness competition of their own. The program is an online competition that offers wide-ranging math equations – from single-step addition to complex algebra – in an engaging format.

How they did it

The Simon Lions roared and showed DC they’re the king of this jungle. It was time to add a win to their school’s triumphs. What a Cinderella story; Simon had initially ranked a dismal 64th among all district schools.
“We just wanted to be respected,” expressed one student joyfully.
After hours and hours of time and energy spent answering challenging math equations online, the Lions muscled their way into the Final Four.
“This was the first time in a month the kids went out to recess,” boasted one teacher after the Final Four win.
Because of their access to snacks and groceries provided by the Capital Area Food Bank through the School Food Pantry program, teachers were given permission by parents to allow students to come to school early and stay late to work on math during the last several weeks of the elementary school version of March madness.
During the final seconds of the competition, it was anybody’s game. But, the Lions roared and with a final dunk, they won the competition and hoisted the trophy that is now displayed in the school entrance to inspire future generations.
As a Capital Area Food Bank staff member left the school that day, he was so proud to share their story with his colleagues and partner agencies.
He said, “Hopefully, everyone will all gain a valuable lesson from the Simon Lions: it is not where you start, but how you finish!”
Help the Capital Area Food Bank by donating today, to ensure that all students, like the Simon Lions, have a strong finish in life.