A trio of Tahoma High students came home from the Mu Alpha Theta convention July 18-24 in Knoxville, Tenn., with some serious hardware as well as having earned national math rankings.
Juniors Sean Messenger and Zach Overhauser along with sophomore Anthony Yun from Tahoma participated at the convention against teams from 48 other high schools and 530 competitors from across the country on topics like geometry and calculus.
Malinda Shirley, who teaches math at Tahoma High and advises the group, was thrilled with the results.
“We were told that schools come for three to four years and never win a national award,” Shirley said in an e-mail. “Some schools brought as many as 50 students per team. We took three students and won four trophies. That represents a lot of work all year long!”
Yun was the first Tahoma High student to qualify in “Chalk Talks.” His seven-minute presentation on “Geometry in Architecture” earned him a top-ten placing and a panel of judges awarded him a trophy for a sixth-place National Ranking after he made a second presentation.
On the last day of the competition Messenger and Overhauser partnered to solve five pages of multi-level logic problems to earn a pair of 11th place trophies.
In each category the top-20 students were presented with National Awards.
“To recognize the team efforts of the entire club, Mu Alpha Theta awarded a fifth place trophy to our scrapbook which chronicles the activities during the year: tutoring, coaching the middle school/junior high school MATHCOUNTS team, competitions and social events,” Shirley said. “The scrapbook was constructed by Mary Illback, Taide Pham, Anthony Yun, Sean Messenger, Robin Stillmaker, Zach Overhauser, Amy McCormick, Carly Overhauser, Kaycie Watmore, Eric McCormick and Niky Sarmah. As you see, math team develops the total person including public speaking, fine arts and analytical skills.”
Shirley added this was the first time the team had been to the national convention.
“Next year we hope to take 12 students to Nationals in Washington, D. C.,” she said. “As a coach, I could not be more proud of the hundreds of hours of preparation that was spent by these students to prepare for the math tests and the scrapbook.”