by Nicole Eisenberg
Over this past summer, five students from WHS earned a first-place award in the Mu Alpha Theta National Math Convention, held at Washington University in St. Louis. Alistair Kapadia ‘17, Nicholas Youssef ‘17, Fiona Gillespie ‘18, Jeffrey Yang ‘19 and Michael Hague ‘17 was presented with the Blue Ribbon award in their small school category. Math Teacher Ms. Zorana Culjak led the group to the convention, which was held from July 10-15.
The competition featured different forms of tests including standard multiple choice, short answer and team-based tests. In addition to the team’s overall award, several members were honored for their individual achievements. Gillespie won two individual awards and Hague and Yang each won one. The students took part in tests at all different levels, including the Mu (Calculus), Alpha (Pre-Calculus), and Theta (Algebra II/Geometry).
The competition pushed the team members to new limits, as Hague explained: “[The competition] was a great way to test my knowledge and skills against some of the smartest people I’ve ever met. It was very humbling.”
Kapadia agreed that the convention’s atmosphere was intense. “It was very serious,” he said. “All of the teams were studying. They came with like 40 members and we just had five.”
A total of 39 teams came to the convention and it had a very national scope, receiving attendees from as far as Hawaii, according to Gillespie.
In order to compete in the national competition WHS needed to create a Mu Alpha Theta chapter. “The chapter has [those] five members in it as of now, but we want to expand it through the math club,” said Ms. Culjak. “Hopefully, we can go to the competition next year at Niagara Falls.”
Gillespie agreed and said: “This experience made me more motivated to study math. There are so many more areas of math that I haven’t been exposed to at WHS.”