Math Competition takes on Mu Alpha Theta Nationals

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Forty-four students from Heritage’s math competition team met July 10-15 in Washington D.C. to compete for national titles in Mu Alpha Theta (MAO). 

Mu Alpha Theta is a math honor society. At the national convention, each division represents a different type of math. Mu represents calculus, Alpha represents pre-calculus and Theta represents algebra/geometry. At the national competition, each grade level competes in one of these categories. The category is based on what type of math the student takes in school. 

In order to qualify for MAO nationals, students must first compete at the regional and state levels. According to Competitive Math Head Coach, Dr. Radleigh Santos, student’s performance at states determines who goes to nationals. 

Each student must take a general 60 minute test which consists of 30 multiple choice questions. After, students must take three tests related to the specific area of math they are competing in. Aside from the main events, students also choose to participate in smaller competitions such as mental math, speed math and making a poster.

Heritage’s MAO team faced off against their longtime rival Buchholz High School. They ended up taking home second place, as Buchholz reclaimed first. However, winning second place has not deterred students from wanting to work even harder next year. 

“I think our team is driven by competition more than anything,” said senior Rosa Wu. “This year we improved so much compared to the last nationals and, leaving DC, all of us are motivated to do even better next year.” 

Regardless of coming in second, Heritage students took home over 200 individual trophies. 

Junior Vishaka Joshi came in third for her math-related poster. Yet for her, the most special part of the competition was not the actual events, but rather, the sense of community among the students. “The entire group has built such a strong community, and we’ve all learned so much from each other. We took advantage of the time we had and the memories we made throughout the week,” she said. 

She went on to add, “The ultimate goal of nationals is to finally win first place, but, personally, I want to get closer with all the people in my group. There’s so much to learn from every one of them, whether it’s about math or just being a good leader, or a good friend.” 

In order to be a part of Mu Alpha Theta, students must first be a part of the Heritage math competition team. Ms. Michele Okun runs the society and she can be contacted at Mr. Daniel Ariew coaches the school’s math competition team and he can be reached at

Mu Alpha Theta students pose for a picture with their awards. As a team, Heritage ranked second in the nation. (Photos/Jacob Buchsbaum)

Irene is a sophomore at American Heritage who is entering her first year as a staff member for the Patriot Post. She loves reading (practically anything she can manage to get her hands on), watching movies, volunteering and listening to music. Her passion for writing started early at the age of 8 and she has been involved in both creative writing and journalism since then. Other than being in newspaper she is involved in a lot of different clubs at Heritage such as Best Buddies, Key Club, HOSA, UNICEF, Amnesty International and more.