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Spotlight: Grace Doud motivated to bring home math win

Bellingham Herald December 1, 2015


As a 10-year-old fifth-grader, Grace Doud was so disciplined that she was willing to give up many hours to prepare for the annual Whatcom County Math Championships.

Now an 11-year-old sixth-grader at St. Paul’s Academy, she began in October 2014 with an extra hour of math instruction on Fridays. In May, she nailed it as the best Whatcom County fifth-grader.

“I finished second in both third and fourth grades, so I was really motivated to win,” said the articulate scholar, the daughter of longtime local high school teachers Kirstin and Alan Doud.


-Grace Doud, 11-year-old math champion


Fascinated by technology, Grace seems likely to be a first-rate competitor for the computer programming job she dreams of. She’s also a team player — she helped one of the four-person St. Paul’s fifth-grade teams to finish third.

“There was algebra, geometry, probability and mental math involved,” she said. “I think the geometry was toughest.”

What was her strategy?

“On the individual test, there were 30 problems to be solved in 30 minutes,” she said. “I did as many as I could quickly, then went back to others. I finished 27 problems and got 24 right.”

“The math championships are about 50-50 girls and boys,” she said. “I love how so many girls are really into math.”

Grace has taken riding lessons for three years and intends to try competitive equestrian events. She loves horse stories as part of her extensive recreational reading, but she also likes “realistic fiction,” such as the school stories by Andrew Clements.

“I want to be competitive in dressage,” she said.

Grace’s mom, a music teacher at Sehome High, inspired her to love playing viola. An accomplished player, she looks forward to performing in the orchestra in high school.

Grace’s dad, who teaches physics at Squalicum High and is a longtime runner and former cross-country coach, has inspired her in more than math. She said he has helped her become an enthusiastic distance runner.

Originally Posted on The Bellingham Herald