Chamber initiative helps fund Middle School Math Clubs

Students from Northwestern State University's Middle Lab School are, front row from left, Finley Ocon and Claire Perritt. On second row are Anna Hobart, Brynn Landry and Clarke Glenn. On third row are Chamber President Laura Lyles, Noah O'Rourke, Jacob Hypes, Jiaqi Yi and Teacher Sponsor Emalie Dunn.

The Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce’s A+ Coalition is funding the participation of any of the 10 Natchitoches Parish Schools with sixth, seventh and eighth grades involved with Mathcounts. Mathcounts is a middle school math competition program sponsored by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NPSE) (

Students from Magnet School are holding plaques from prior year competitions. On front row from left are Eric O’Bannon and and Ethan Bumgardner. On second row are Lilyasta Laning, Noah Martinez and Tahdeuz Tibbs. On third row are Principal Stephonie French, Issac Young, Diamond Smith, Wyatt Laning, Joshua Chesal, Calder Deford and Zenda Sawyer.

The A+ Coalition will provide $300 for each parish school that participates in the Feb. 16 regional competition at Tioga Junior High School, an additional $200 for the highest scoring school from Natchitoches Parish at the regional competition, an additional $500 for any parish school that qualifies their team or an individual for the state competition and an additional $500 for any parish school that qualifies their team or an individual for the national competition. All funds will be provided as a technology grant to the participating schools.

To date, the two Natchitoches Parish schools registered to participate in the February regional competition are Natchitoches Magnet School and Northwestern State University Middle Lab. The A+ Coalition is supporting these teams to ensure a solid foundation for students’ future success in STEM careers.

“The A+ Coalition is pleased to build the partnership between the NSPE Mathcounts activities and our Natchitoches Parish middle school students,” said Mike Wolff, the A+ Coalition math development advocate. “Our community recognizes the direct relationship between math competency and expanded STEM career opportunities and pay advancements available with our local businesses.”

“This is our first year back after about three years, but I have a lot sixth graders interested in it. I’m excited to see what they have to offer,” said Emalie Dunn, advisor to the Mathcounts club at NSU Middle Lab.

“I am excited to have the continued interest from our students at Natchitoches Magnet for Mathcounts,” stated Zenda Sawyer, advisor to the Mathcounts club at Natchitoches Magnet. “This program helps our students develop and grow their math skills.”

The A+ Coalition is excited to help propel these bright young students towards their future success. To learn more about the A+ Coalition and how you can help, visit

The A+ Coalition is an initiative of the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce, which helps foster a thriving community through transformative leadership, collaboration and innovation.