VIENNA, Va.-When most of us are bored at meetings, we doodle on a scrap of paper, but not Navy Federal Credit Union Executive Vice President for Information Services Ardin Goss. He is solving math problems. But Goss does not just do math for the sake of doing math-though he would. He is also a tutor at Thoreau Middle School in Vienna and coach of the math team. “The credit union has a partnership with a local middle school and it’s something we’re really proud of,” Goss said. About 150 Navy Federal employees help tutor the seventh and eighth graders at the school just two miles from their headquarters. From that a teacher who knew Goss because their children went to school together asked him to coach the math team. He explained that from 125-175 students try out for the team, but only 30 can make it. Out of those, just eight get to go on to the formal annual competition. While some students’ parents are forcing them into it, about a quarter of the kids really love it, he said reaching out to what he called the “geek soul.” That is part of what they try to accomplish through the team as well: keeping the preteens from feeling like outcasts because they like to do math. He explained that for two or more hours once or twice a month, these kids can be surrounded by other kids who love math. “The fun thing is there’s a lot of cynicism about getting kids to work hard and do stuff and they do it and they stick with it,” Goss said. He takes pleasure in watching the children evolve into more mature students, he said. Coach Goss explained that the students not only solve problems but also demonstrate the process for the other kids and defend it. [email protected]

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