At Buchholz, math contest is fast, furious, fun


Published: Sunday, January 8, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 8, 2006 at 4:17 a.m.
For a frantic four minutes, the members of Buchholz team 3 scribbled on their papers and punched their graphing calculators, heads bowed together as they argued over the answer to the ninth calculus question.
"Are you sure?" whispered Aaron Griffith, 18, when his teammate, Alex Payne, 18, offered a solution.
"Give me an answer so I can write it down," said Melissa Carnall, 16, impatiently, as the clock ticked.
Finally, they came to a tentative consensus and Travis Hamilton, 17, thrust the piece of paper into the air - signaling the group was submitting its answer.
"The answer is 10," said Dina Stone, a Buchholz math teacher and competition proctor, once the four minutes was up.
Groans erupted from team 3's table. The four members of Buchholz Team 3 were only a few of about 400 middle and high school students from around Northeast Florida who came to compete in a Mu Alpha Theta regional math competition on Saturday morning at Buchholz High School.
For a grueling three hours, all of the students participated in both an individual written test, as well as a group competition in math levels ranging from high school algebra to calculus.
In the group competition, teams earned points by answering the question in a certain period of time. An answer submitted in the first minute earned 16 points, in the second minute earned 12 points, in the third minute earned 8 points and in the fourth minute earned 4 points.
Although Buchholz team 3 came away from the competition with only 20 out of a possible 192 points, they weren't discouraged.
"We had fun anyway," Carnall said cheerfully as she and her fellow members stood outside the cafeteria once the competition was over.
"We'll do better next time," Hamilton said.
And they all put in a good word for their calculus teacher, Mrs. Stone.
Members from a team from Oak Hall School in Gainesville also said they had fun, although the 60 points they earned wasn't quite enough to earn them a top spot.
"It's actually better than we usually get," said Farzana Faisal, 17.
The members said they were surprised how competitive some of the teams were.
"It's kind of an obsession for them," said Lesley Wharton, 18.
But for the Oak Hall team members, three hours of calculus on a Saturday morning was just about all they cared to take.
"I've had enough calculus for a year," Wharton said.
But for the students enrolled in the competition math classes at Buchholz, the season is just beginning.
Math teacher and competition coach Will Frazier said they will be going to a competition every two weeks for the next three months.
And then there is the state competition in April, where Buchholz will be the defending champions after beating out longtime frontrunner Stoneman Douglas High School last year, according to Frazier.
The Buchholz team also placed second in the national competition in Hawaii last year, he said.
Frazier credits Buchholz's math success to having an extensive lineup of different classes and a supportive school, as well as the talented group of youngsters in the Gainesville area.
"I think Gainesville gets the best pool of kids," he said.
Alice Wallace can be reached at (352) 374-5036 or alice. wallace@gvillesun.com

Florida Mu Alpha Theta Math Competition results

  • 1st: Buchholz High School
  • 2nd: Bolles High School, Jacksonville
  • 3rd: Stanton College Preparatory School, Jacksonville

    ALGEBRA I, INDIVIDUAL WINNERS

  • 1st: Brian Li, Lincoln Middle School
  • 2nd: Kevin Yoon, Kanapaha Middle
  • 3rd: Helen Miney, St. Patrick Interparish School
  • 4th: Tina Tang, Lincoln Middle School
  • 5th: Medha Ranka, Lincoln Middle School
  • 6th: Katherine Qiu, Lincoln Middle School
  • 7th: Kirsten Soucek, Kanapaha Middle School
  • 8th: Ji Soo Kim, JW Johnson, Jacksonville
  • 9th: Shuyun Xue, Lincoln Middle School
  • 10th: Karen Li, Lincoln Middle School

    ALGEBRA I, GROUP WINNERS

  • 1st: Lincoln Middle School

  • 2nd: Kanapaha Middle School

  • 3rd: JW Johnson, Jacksonville

  • 4th: St. Patrick Interparish School

  • 5th: Howard Bishop Middle School

    GEOMETRY, INDIVIDUAL WINNERS

  • 1st: Buchholz High School
  • 2nd: JW Johnson, Jacksonville
  • 3rd: Spruce Creek High School, Daytona
  • 4th: Stanton College Preparatory School, Jacksonville
  • 5th: Bolles High School, Jacksonville

    ALGEBRA II, INDIVIDUAL WINNERS

  • 1st: John Lu, Lincoln Middle School
  • 2nd: Wenqi Feng, Lincoln Middle School
  • 3rd: James Tan, Lincoln Middle School
  • 4th: Alex Choi, Lincoln Middle School
  • 5th: Soon-Wook Kim, Buchholz High School
  • 6th: Jonathan Wang, Oak Hall School
  • 7th: Lucy Zhong, Lincoln Middle School
  • 8th: Greg Paryani, Bolles High School, Jacksonville
  • 9th: Jason Wang, Buchholz High School
  • 10th: Lisa Avery, Buchholz High School

    ALGEBRA II, GROUP WINNERS

  • 1st: Lincoln Middle School
  • 2nd: Buchholz High School
  • 3rd: Stanton College Preparatory School, Jacksonville
  • 4th: Oak Hall School
  • 5th: Bolles High School, Jacksonville PRE-CALCULUS, INDIVIDUAL WINNERS
  • 1st: Christina Ren, Buchholz High School
  • 2nd: Michael Banaszek, Eastside High School
  • 3rd: Sue Zheng, Buchholz High School
  • 4th: Jimmy Wong, Buchholz High School
  • 5th: Curie Chang, Buchholz High School
  • 6th: Lisa Gardner, Buchholz High School
  • 7th: Victor Chou, Buchholz High School
  • 8th: Grant McLeod, Buchholz High School
  • 9th: David Jia, Buchholz High School
  • 10th: Kathryn Harris, Buchholz High School

    PRE-CALCULUS, GROUP WINNERS

  • 1st: Buchholz High School
  • 2nd: Spruce Creek High School, Daytona
  • 3rd: Eastside High School
  • 4th: Stanton College Preparatory School, Jacksonville
  • 5th: Vanguard High School, Ocala

    CALCULUS, INDIVIDUAL WINNERS

  • 1st: Carmichael Ong, Bolles High School, Jacksonville
  • 2nd: Gregory Hutchings, Buchholz High School
  • 3rd : Farzana Faisal, Oak Hall School
  • 4th: Joey Wong, Buchholz High School
  • 5th: Justin Lu, Stanton College Preparatory School, Jacksonville
  • 6th : Brent Ho, Buchholz High School
  • 7th: Jessi Shroads, Buchholz High School
  • 8th: Sean Monagle, Bolles High School, Jacksonville
  • 9th: Alex Riegler, Bolles High School, Jacksonville
  • 10th: Henry Sura, Paxon High School, Jacksonville

    CALCULUS, GROUP WINNERS

  • 1st: Buchholz High School
  • 2nd: Bolles High School, Jacksonville
  • 3rd: Oak Hall School
  • 4th: Spruce Creek High School, Daytona
  • 5th: Stanton College Preparatory School, Jacksonville
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