Kierstin Phillips

Seminole High School has been successful at math competitions, as suggested by the many awards they have won.

Mu Alpha Theta, also known as MAO, is a popular competition math club at Seminole High School. Mathletes, as its members are affectionately called, attend individual and team event contests to solve difficult problems based on their current math level. Not only do these competitions provide great prestige to their participants, but they also improve students’ math skills by improving their speed via constant practice. The top 15 scorers at each competition are awarded for their outstanding work. MAO helps students prepare for these contests by having meetings every Friday after school and by taking multiple practice tests,  

I remember that the people I met through the club my freshmen became some of my closest friends and still are, because through the years we always have a passion for math and funny memories from various competitions or inside jokes that bond us,” MAO president senior Shreya Srikanth said.

This program has been implemented all over the state of Florida, with major centers in Gainesville, Tampa, Tallahassee, Vero Beach, and Fort Myers. Schools from these areas have placed in the Top Ten multiple times for group and individual competitions, making them major rivals for SHS. SHS’s accomplishments include winning the overall school award, also known as “sweepstakes,” multiple times.

Most MAO members have found lifelong friends who meet each other through the club and find shared passion in math. Throughout the year they get to interact with one another in team events to showcase all of their skills as one whole team. Although the students get nervous at times, they know they can count on their teammates to help them through it, especially in team rounds.

“My favorite part about it is being able to go to competitions and compete with other mathletes. I have met many new people through math competitions, not just from SHS. This broadens the math community and allows us to teach each other tricks,” freshman Yash Vardhan said.

Students joining next year need to be prepared to practice and study ahead; many join the club because they love math, so they should expect to do a little bit math outside of school if they want to learn more and win at competitions. Once they join the club, they will be part of an organization that helps showcase many talents.

“My advice to next year’s club members would be to keep practicing. Most of them are probably coming from middle school MAO so they’ll know what they need to do to practice well. Some strategies for practicing include placing yourself in a closed, quiet testing environment for an hour– the time given for an individual test– and taking a practice test fully focused,” said Vardhan.