In the past five years, Wesley Stine has earned either first or second place in the Research Question competition of the Yavapai County Math Contest through Northern Arizona University. This year was no different.
Wesley, 16, placed first with his answer to a Modjik square problem.
Oldest of five children, Wesley attends Williamsburg Academy this year, an online classical education school that, among other things, teaches the theories behind mathematical concepts and proofs. His mother, Christina Stine, said she has homeschooled Wesley and his siblings and tailors the curriculum to their strengths and weaknesses, although Wesley's strengths seem to include every academic subject.
The family moved to Prescott Valley in 2006 from Scottsdale. A talent with numbers seems to run in the family, with not only Wesley's penchant for math, but his 12-year-old brother and 10-year-old sister who also excel at math.
In addition to the online academic curriculum, Wesley is taking classes at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is in an "escrow program" for high school students and able to take up to 24 credit hours at a discounted rate. He earns dual credits - they count toward high school and college - and that puts him all that much closer to his goal of studying aerospace engineering.
A friend of Wesley's encouraged him to join the Math Club at Prescott High School. With about 160 members, this is the largest club on campus. It meets once a month with activities and guest speakers. Members participate in a variety of math activities such as crime labs, Rubik's Cube competitions, trips to Motorola in Phoenix, treasure and scavenger hunts, and service projects.
At this year's Yavapai County competition, in addition to taking first place in Research Question, Wesley also placed second in Level 5 Individual, second in Top Ten Individuals, was part of the PHS team that took second in Team Round and first in the team College Bowl, and he also helped Prescott win first in Overall Schools.
Archives on the NAU website show Wesley's progression in the math competition: in 2009 he earned second in Research Question; in 2010 he earned first in Research and first at Level 2 Individual; in 2011 he placed second in Research, first in Level 2 Individual, ranked seventh individually overall, and was on the winning middle school college bowl team; and in 2012, he placed first in Research and first in Level 3 Individual.
Wesley's mother said she completed calculus in high school and considers herself and her husband to have somewhat of a math brain, "but Wesley is way beyond that," she said.