Marjory Stoneman Douglas mathletes, Vayun Alapati, Brandon Chou, Dominick Hing and Simon Hoo managed to place among the top 20 students in Florida at Mu Alpha States. They competed with over 1100 students from both public and private schools. Alapati placed fourth in calculus integration and twentieth in Calculus Limits and Derivatives, Chou fifteenth in History of Math, Hing fifth in History of Math and twentieth in Calculus/Individual, and Simon Hoo fourteenth in Precalculus Applications. Additionally, the team’s scrapbook placed first. Sabrina Chen and Andrew Ly were responsible for this project.
“Our scrapbook took first place, due to the hard work of our historian and scrapbook team,” Mu Alpha Theta sponsor Geri Mikulski said.
The majority of the mathletes agreed that the math competition takes a lot of time and dedication, especially to place in the top twenty.
“I spent several hours the week before practicing,” senior mathlete Hing said. “I also did some reading for history of math. The topic was unsolved problems in math.”
Studying was likely employed as the competition proved to be quite extensive. At Mu Alpha Theta States there are numerous tests one may participate in. Each competitor is required to take individual sets of tests, two topic tests, and to follow this with history of math test. There are three divisions to enroll in, Theta (Algebra II and Geometry), Alpha (Pre-Calculus), and Mu (Calculus). Additionally, students can partake in other exams varying from mental math to relay. Each test lasts an hour, with the exception of the History of Math test where only a half an hour is allotted. One thing remains a continuity however: no calculators are allowed to be in possession during these tests besides statistics.
With such high placings, it seems clear that these Douglas competitors were practicing and studying weekly for this competition. However, one Douglas mathlete, Vayun Alapati, stated that he spent minimal time preparing.
“I spent little to no time preparing for the test, I just went off of prior knowledge. I did not expect to achieve any placings because of my lack of preparation for the competition.”
Although preparation was a major factor in success for most of the mathletes competitors, their motivation was just as important.
“I mostly felt motivated by the joy of being called up to accept the trophy and by my friends outside of Stoneman Douglas who never fail to place at math competitions,” Alapati said.
Throughout each school year, the Douglas mathletes are given 14 competition opportunities. These opportunities consist of regional, states, and national completions. The Stoneman Douglas Mu Alpha Theta Competition schedule is reaching its final competition. The Douglas mathletes have one more competition left to go this year: the Mu Alpha Theta National Convention, which is a summer competition at the Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.