Mu Alpha Theta members compete in statewide competition

BY RACHEL GREENBERG

Members of Mu Alpha Theta (MAO) attended the math state competition on April 19 and 20 to compete against teams from all of Florida.  Around 1000 students from all Florida high schools met at the Double Tree Hotel in Orlando to compete in a total of 41 events. Out of twenty-two topics, each student chose two “Topic Tests,” or 60 minute individual tests in specific categories like “Matrices and Vectors,” “History of Math,” and “Sequences and Series.”

Freshman and member of MAO Mahadev Josyabhatla said this was a new experience for her that made her both nervous and excited.

“I was definitely intimidated to compete in the state competition,” Josyabhatla said. “I was afraid that I wouldn’t do better than the students who competed before me or live up to the legacy that our amazing seniors have left for us.”

Each student participated inch four events and took a 60-minute individual test in either calculus, precalculus or algebra II/geometry. An event everyone participated in was called “Ciphering,” a series of ten questions where students race to complete each one as quickly as possible. The Bay placed 5th overall at the state convention.

“Everyone is proud of the history of Cypress Bay Mu Alpha Theta and wants to contribute to our future success,” math teacher and MAO adviser Ari Novick said. “Almost everyone who competed is in one of Mr. Farmer’s ‘competition math’ classes. They have practiced in class throughout the school year in addition to practicing after school.”

Novick said neither he nor Mr. Farmer need to do much to encourage students for competitions because everyone was already well motivated.

“The strongest thing that encourages members to prepare is a sense of teamwork,” Novick said.  “Everyone is proud of the history of Cypress Bay MAO and wants to contribute to our future success.”

This was the first time competing in a state-wide competition for freshman Allison Comite. She said this was a learning experience for her and that she learned about areas she needs to improve on for upcoming years.

“These tests can be hard,” Comite said. “I thought I did horrible in one and I ended up placing. Being my first state competition, I was a little nervous, but I was excited as well.”

Comite said upcoming competitors should not be discouraged if they don’t do as well as they expected because practice makes perfect.

“Incoming students interested in competing should focus on memorizing formulas that make seemingly harder questions easier,” Comite said. “If a problem seems long, there is probably a shortcut that will solve it so much faster.”

Josyabhatla said even though Cypress placed 5th in the competition, there are other aspects to focus on such as the turnout of the event and recognizing how each student improved.

“We may not have won first, but we all had some pretty great achievements individually, which is what really matters.”

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