By now, we’ve almost gotten spoiled. The bar for success for the Miami Springs Senior High School Mu Alpha Theta Math team has been set so high these days one wonders how they can continue to maintain their success.
But they did again last month when a total of 28 students and five dedicated sponsors traveled to San Diego to participate in the National Mu Alpha Theta Math Convention and the group returned with a ninth-place finish, one better than a 10th at last summer’s convention in Boston.
The team’s scrapbook and poster both placed first (Max Dunevitz and Diana Tosca. Dunevitz also placed seventh in logic and set theory). The entire team worked on the interschool test and placed third. Patrick Bolton presented a seven-minute talk on the mathematician Euler and won first place in his category.
Pablo Hernandez, the most decorated MSSH MAO president, also served as president of the national MAO delegation this year and was awarded the Mary Rhein scholarship. In addition to being responsible for all details related to this trip, and making sure all students were on task throughout the convention, he managed to win five awards — third-place calculus team; sixth-place history of math; eighth-place statistics; eighth-place ciphering; and eighth-place hustle team. Hernandez now turns his sights to Palo Alto, Calif., where he will attend Stanford next month on the Gates Millenium Scholarship.
John Mayo led with the must number of awards (8) by placing third in calculus team; sixth in mental math; eighth in probability and combinatorics; ninth in number theory; 10th in team relay; 12th in individual calculus; 12th in individual relay; and 12th in linear algebra. Mayo will attend FIU.
Gerardo Carranza, who is headed to Yale, won six awards — third in calculus; fourth in ciphering; eighth in hustle; ninth in sequences and series; 13th in integration; 14th in limits and derivatives.
Henry Laney, who will attend Amherst in the fall, won four awards- third in calulus team, seventh in BC calculus, ninth in computer scence, and 14th in calculus applications.
Orlando Laney placed ninth in precalculus team; 10th in team relay; 10th in mental math; and 15th in sequences and series. Bryant Porras placed fifth in matrices and 10th in team relay. Nick Costa placed eighth in hustle and ninth in precalculus. Alex Jimenez placed seventh in computers and 13th in logic. Alain Perez placed eighth in hustle and ninth in precalculus. Leo Gutierrez placed ninth in computers and 15th in logic.
Michael Perez and Veronica Padron (MIT) placed third in Mu Gemini. Luis Negron placed fifth in logic and set theory. James Eby, on his way to Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, placed sixth in statistics, while Andres Ekanayake placed ninth in precalculus.
When it was all over and added up, the Mu Alph Theta team had reeled in a total of 50 awards.
The trip was bittersweet for MSSH Mu Alpha Theta sponsor and long-time teacher Sam Koski, who is retiring from the Miami-Dade County Public School System this month after 33 years at Miami Springs Senior High School.
“I would like to thank the community, which has supported my efforts throughout the years,” Koski said. “So many have made donations and offered opportunities and encouragement to contribute to the success of the math program.”
Koski is moving in a different direction, which soon will lead to his relocation closer to his grandchildren in Reno, Nev. He recently accepted a position at nearby Doral Academy to create a math academy research program, similar to the one which was supposed to have been created at Miami Springs Senior.
Koski said his goal was to set up such a math program before his retirement so future generations could benefit from his expertise and his teachings could continue after his departure.
Said Koski: “I extend my gratitude to the Miami Springs community and alumni for all they have done for me and and the math program over the decades.”