Mathletes take the win


Students from the math team pose alongside Mr. Andy Oberlies after receiving their first-place trophy at the Reinhardt math competition. These students joined Mu Alpha Theta, or Math Honors Society, because of their love for math. Photo provided by Jeremy Jeong

Students have different interests, ranging from sports to the arts. Others have an aptitude for mathematics. Math Honors Society, or Mu Alpha Theta, brings together these students who share a passion for math. To complete the required fifty hours, students offer peer tutoring, organize math presentations, and participate in competitions. 

Students from this society competed at their second math competition on Saturday, Nov. 9 at Reinhardt University. Although competing against several other schools from around the county, Sequoyah students took home first place. 

Winning should be a proud moment for the members of the math team, but junior Jeremy Jeong was not thrilled when the team was announced as the winners. 

           “When I won, I felt relieved that I didn’t miss first place,” Jeong said. “But I also felt embarrassed; I felt like I wasn’t supposed to win.” 

           However, senior Alina Wargacki was ecstatic to have placed first since it is her last year on the team. 

      “I competed at Reinhardt my sophomore year, but not my junior year. So, it felt like an appropriate bookend to my experience on the math team and the Math Honors Society,” Wargacki said. 

Junior Triston Oswald, who joined in September, was also proud of his first win. 

“I was thrilled. I didn’t think we had won anything, so it came as a rewarding surprise,” Oswald said.  

Math competitions have different elements. At the Reinhardt tournament, students worked both as a team and separately. This can be detrimental for certain students like Jeong.  

“I prefer to work by myself, but I will compete as part of a team if I must,” Jeong said. 

While attending a math competition on the weekend may seem burdensome, it is enjoyable for these students who have a genuine interest in math.  

“I have always loved math; it’s what I want to center my future career around, and I took every possible opportunity I could at school to practice math,” Wargacki said. “Math team just so happened to be one of those opportunities.”  

Like with any activity, there is an aspect of personal growth that comes with being in this society. Wargacki has enjoyed challenging herself through this activity and enriching her math skills.  

“It is always fun to look at new math problems involving concepts that you are not traditionally taught in high school and are tasked to figure out how to solve that problem; it’s a great way to challenge an avid learner’s mind,” Wargacki said. 

While Jeong loves being a part of Mu Alpha Theta, he does not like how it merged with the math team.  

“I have enjoyed being part of the math team, but its ascension into an honors society and its new service requirements now make me feel like I’ve taken an obligation rather than joined for fun,” Jeong said.