MSSH's Mu Alpha Theta Math Club ready for competition

    While many people in our community are focused on the holiday season, football season or basketball season, a good number of Miami Springs Senior High School Students are focused on competition season — Math Competition Season, that is.

    Miami Springs Senior High School’s Mu Alpha Theta Club students have been busy preparing for the competition season, which officially begins on Dec. 5 when the club will make its way to Fort Myers for its first official competition at Florida Gulf Coast University.

    While preparing for the competition season to begin, MSSH senior John Mayo has been selected to compete in the Who Wants to be a Mathematician contest in San Diego on Jan. 10. Ten contestants from around the country were invited to participate based on their scores on a qualifying test. This is the second year that a student from Miami Springs Senior has won this honor. Last year, Pablo Hernandez participated in the Boston contest.

    “Joining my school’s math club back in seventh grade has been constant preparation for a competition like this. The topics will vary in the competition, so everything I’ve learned over the past five years could come into play,” said John Mayo. “I enjoy Number Theory the most simply because it doesn’t require high level mathematics background knowledge to understand, it uses basic math to calculate some pretty interesting things.”

    The questions for the game will be selected from the areas of pre-calculus mathematics, including algebra, trigonometry and geometry, history of mathematics, probability and logic. The top prize is $5,000 for the contestant and $5,000 for the math department of the contestant’s school.

    “The Who Wants to be a Mathematician Organization will be paying for just about everything. The flights, hotel and even meals will all be taken care of. My mom will be going with me,” said Mayo. “I’m looking forward to seeing San Diego. Even though I’ve never actually been there, I’ve always dreamt of living in California. This will be a great opportunity to see what I’ve heard is a beautiful city.”

    Mark your calendars because there will be a live webcast of the competition where family, friends and supporters can watch and cheer for John during the competition.

    In other math news, MSSH’s Henry Laney was the only student from Florida to place in the 2012 Fall Startup Event sponsored by National Assessment & Testing. It was a fast-paced test of a student’s familiarity with basic math team skills. Henry Laney placed 17th in the senior division. The top 25 in the country are recognized. 

    “It was a 30-minute, 100-question test. The preparation I went through in my Early Bird math class really helped me get ready for such a speedy test,” said Laney. “We had some good scores in some of the underclassmen grades, so I’m pretty positive about the future of the club.”

    During another test, Miami Springs Senior High was tied for fifth place in the Florida Math League Test after the first round of testing. The FML is a six-part test that was open to all students enrolled in high school math courses. Students in each league compete for the highest scores, while schools compete for the highest team score. On the second test, junior Michael Perez had a perfect score.

    “The FLML test starts off fairly easy but becomes increasingly difficult and by the last problem it seems impossible,” Perez said. “It is that problem that has always stumped me, but I’m glad to say that this time it is I who’ve stumped it.”

    Colleges and universities are interested in many of the Mu Alpha Theta students. So far, Cal Tech, Pomona College, Harvey Mudd College, located in California, and Amherst College and Diversity Open House (DIVOH) have all paid for students to travel to their campuses on recruiting trips.

    And why wouldn’t they be recruiting these kids. The students of Mu Alpha Theta Club are known in the Miami Springs community for their community service as well their academic excellence.

    You may have spotted the students with their garnet colored Math Club T-shirts or hoodies at the Rec Center concession stand for a Pelican Playhouse Productions or every Tuesday they can be found volunteering at Miami Springs Elementary School.

    They just participated in a Thanksgiving basket project for homeless families where they collected canned goods. They also helped the Woman’s Club and the Miami Springs Chamber of Commerce with their Bavarian Night event and assisted Johnny’s Diner in organizing their shelves of books. Mu Alpha Theta is also planning a visit to the Senior Center after their first official competition to thank them for their support and to show them the trophies that they’re surely going to win!

    A thank you letter from Mu Alpha Theta Club:

    “The Miami Springs Senior High School Mu Alpha Theta Math Club would like to express our most heartfelt thanks to all of the Miami Springs residents who participated in our Thanksgiving food drive. The club collected 500 cans over a span of two weeks and, along with the Miami Springs Senior High dance group Dance Fusion, packaged out the canned goods for shipment to families that needed some help this holiday season. We hope that all the recipient families and everyone reading had an enjoyable Thanksgiving!”

    From the Miami Springs Mu Alpha Theta family