Things Are Adding Up


Thomas and I are practicing test questions for the state math competition.

Chase Glore, Editor

A lot of people would say that math is the worst subject ever. It’s challenging, there’s so many things to learn and so many solutions to remember. A lot of kids dread coming to school because of their math class, but there is one student that is quite the opposite. Not only does this student love math, he is beyond his years in comprehension, logic and know-how. Thomas Bruggen is a 6th grade student at Trojan Intermediate School who has achieved the impossible.  

Thomas Bruggen is an eleven-year-old student at TIS who has a burning passion for math. As a fourth grader, he placed not only in the top scores at the Mineral Area math competition, top 6 of the state but was one the top 50 fourth grade math students in the nation! This goes to mention that Thomas is the first in Potosi history to ever make it to the national math competition. The math prodigy has been participating in competitions with the Trojan Intermediate math team every year and impresses everytime. In 5th grade he competed again, earning 1st place in the qualifying round, almost doubling the score of the person in 2nd place (Thomas- 204.25 vs 2nd place at 114). He moved onto the state level and still placed within the top 20 of the state! Since Covid, Thomas has also had to encounter a switch to online math competitions. The Potosi “Mathletes” competed in the online qualifying round on Saturday, February 12. Potosi always brings a competitive team to these events, however, Thomas was their secret weapon. This year the qualifying round was online, but there is a certain challenge to that. The Mathletes were competing against many more schools across the state than usual, but that didn’t scare Thomas. In this year’s qualifying round, the gifted student had the top score in every category, Number Sense (Mental Math), Target (Long Word Problems) as well as Sprint (Quick Complex Problems). Thomas earned 2nd place overall in the competition and has qualified to move onto the state round. 

Thomas does more than compete in math competitions, this young student has started to use his math knowledge to solve the impossible. Thomas recently has gotten his hands on a book of never solved math problems and convincingly has solved one of them. It is as crazy as it sounds. A 6th grade student has quite possibly solved a math anomaly that adults have questioned enough to publish! Thomas wrote a math proof of his solution and it made enough sense that his parents sent it to MO S&T to analyze. This eleven year old student solved a problem that many others have struggled with, so just imagine the bright future ahead of him. 

Thomas is excelling so fast that the Potosi faculty is considering allowing him to take high school math classes very soon. As his math tutor, Thomas and I meet twice a week to practice higher math and prepare for the national competition. Thomas is so advanced already that he tested out of the 6th grade in December within a few hours! After I had the chance to work with him a few days I really wondered to myself, “Who is teaching who here? I think this kid already knows more than I do.” That thought seems to be very popular amongst those that have ever talked to Thomas. Thomas Bruggen has an incredibly bright future and he will be able to “rationalize” any problem he may face.