“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” said math coach, Mr. Richard Rovere. This is the motto that powered 41 high school students through their competition at Lawton Chiles High School in Tallahassee, Fla. this past weekend.
The math competition team competed in the Florida Association of Mu Alpha Theta (FAMAT) statewide tournament in which they took home first place, an event that has not occurred since 2017. FAMAT holds two competitions each month, one statewide and one regional. Students arrived Friday, Jan. 10 to prepare for the competition and award ceremony that would take place the next day. The January tournament they attended had about 500 students from around Florida and Alabama. American Heritage had students representing Geometry, Algebra 2, Statistics, Precalculus and Calculus.
The 12 students enrolled in Algebra 2 competed in the Theta division in Algebra and Geometry. The 14 students in Precalculus competed in the Alpha division level and the 15 students in Calculus or above competed in the Mu division level. All students took an individual test of 30 questions which they had an hour to complete. Those on the bowl team, made up of four people, competed as a team and combined their scores. The students not part of the bowl team had the option to take another individual test on their math level.
To prepare for this competition as the first of the season, students practiced tests from previous years to familiarize themselves with the format and learn from past questions.
“Math competition is not for everyone because you do dedicate a lot of time to practice and get to your ranking, but it’s super rewarding. The community is the best part of Mu Alpha Theta. I also love that you make a lot of friendships with people from other schools,” co-president senior Joanne Haner said.
Haner is the secretary of the state student delegate organization, and for the past two years, participated as a delegate at the national level. “At the ceremony, [senior] Connor Gordon and I went up to receive the award since we are co-presidents. We got announced as second place because they miscalculated the score. Our sponsors ran back to see the dispute forms because the judges actually forgot to add in the bowl score for the calculus team. We may have missed the glory of getting our trophy on the stage, but the victory means a lot to us. We all ran out of the auditorium screaming ‘We won’,” she said.