Tom Lake: TAMPA — The arena was cold and quiet and full of children. Nearly 400 of them, heads down, pencils in hand, deep in thought. It was nothing less than a thinking contest.
These were the Hillsborough County’s brightest students, or at least a good fraction of its future engineers and rocket scientists, and they came to the USF Sun Dome on Wednesday morning for something called the Winter Math Bowl. Each one had a story. Especially the boy with the sleepy eyes and the mountainous Afro.
This boy smiled regularly, but he was not here to play games. He came because he needed to win.
This boy had a plastic bag of change in his pocket. It was his lunch money, courtesy of his father, who had gathered it from around the house because he had no other money to give.