Local Students Compete in Best in Class Year-End Math and English Competition

By George Slaughter

When the school year ends, students look forward to summer. But for more than 70 local elementary and middle school students, it was also a time to compete in the first local Best in Class Year-End Math and English Competition.

The competition was held last Saturday at Living World Lutheran Church, 1351 S. Mason.

That it was the first such local competition is remarkable enough. Ira Giri, the Katy Best in Class Education Center owner and franchisee, said there were two other things that make this competition even more remarkable. First, local parents gave strong encouragement for a competition.

“Parents want to give their kids an experience and a learning process,” Giri said. “Rather than giving them trophies when nobody is looking during the year, this really rewards them and gives them more confidence. I thought a competition would be a great idea for these kids to really show what they’ve accomplished.”

Second, the local competition followed a different model than the one used by the corporate headquarters in Seattle. There, students in fourth through sixth grades take only a math exam.

Student Ashrith Talluri, right, receives award at Saturday’s Best in Class Education Center competition. Presenting the award is Sai Rachakonda, chariman of North South Foundation of Houston. Assistant center manager Erdis Bistrovich is in the background. (Photo courtesy Best in Class Education Center.)

Giri said she wanted the local competition to be open to all grade levels, in this case Kindergarten through ninth grades. She also wanted it to both math and English.

“It was completely a brand new idea,” Giri said. “I produced the materials by myself because I wanted this to be done in a different way to expose students to all the material they’ve learned until this point. It was one big test that was a combination of all the things. Nobody has done this before. I’m glad it was successful.”

Giri said people were excited about the competition, but they were more excited about students being able to demonstrate what they learned.

A total of six winners were awarded to students in each grade level. Giri said she plans to expand the competition to include students in tenth to twelfth grades.

She also expects to hold a similar competition for students not enrolled at any Best in Class Education centers, though no timetable for that has been established.

The competition has attracted attention from others. Officials from the Sugar Land Best in Class Education center attended Saturday’s competition. They took notes and pictures, and are making plans for their own competition, Giri said.

Giri owns two local centers. The first, at 3750 S. Mason, celebrates its four-year anniversary in October. The second, at 4950 Katy-Gaston Road, has existed for almost two years.

To learn more about Best in Class Education Centers, visit www.bestinclasseducation.com.