Mu Alpha Theta ends year with big wins

Andrew Lim, Staff Writer

Eighth-grader Neill J. earned a ninth-place award in the geometry individual round at the final Mu Alpha Theta Association competition of the year at Seminole High School on March 2, while the geometry team placed fourth overall. Freshman Harold Schwartz received a 15th place award in the individual Algebra 2 round, and the calculus team placed fourth, contributing to the school’s largest awards haul this year.

“I was really happy for the students,” team sponsor Debra Jerdon said. “I was especially glad that other teams that haven’t won [this year] won.”

Forty-five students represented the school against 22 schools from six counties. Teams consist of up to four students, and team totals are calculated by totaling each member’s individual score to the team round score. But this year’s scoring method has changed. Along with other changes, judges counted incorrect answers as 0 points, instead of subtracting points for incorrect answers.

“I like the new grading system because it makes it impossible to get a negative score if you do poorly,” calculus team member,Hannah Schmidt, a junior, said. “That makes me feel better in case I had a bad day.”

According to calculus team 2 member Taryn Tolle, the team round also was difficult.

“[All the team 2 members] didn’t know how to do many of them because you would learn it in Calculus BC,” she said. “It was still fun though. If we didn’t know the answer we would send funny messages to the judges.”

Jerdon said she hopes the teams do even better next year.

“Personally, I really look forward to these competitions,” she said. “We’re always trying to do better and to be more competitive.”

Seventh-grader Phi D., who competed on the Algebra 1 team, said Mu Alpha Theta competitions are a good learning experience.

“I do it because I love math and competing against other people,” he said. “It gives me a good sign of what I need to improve on. You can learn so much from this.”

Editor’s note: Brevard Public Schools policy prohibits the inclusion of middle-schoolers’ last names on district websites.