Trust fund will help buoy BHS 'mathletes'


Published: Friday, October 4, 2013 at 6:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 4, 2013 at 6:40 p.m.

Buchholz High School "mathletes" will get by with a little help from their friends from now on.

A trust fund for the competition math team at Buchholz has been established by Michael Warren, president and founder of real estate development, brokerage, investment and property management firm AMJ.

"I've always been interested in education," said Warren, whose four children have gone through the school district's magnet programs.

The story actually starts a little farther back.

As a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Warren has acted as a local interviewer for North Florida students applying to MIT for the last 15 years or so.

At Buchholz, one of the schools where Warren does interviews, he said he started to notice many of the students applying to MIT were on the math team.

After hearing over the summer that the team had won its seventh consecutive championship at the Mu Alpha Theta national math competition in San Diego, Warren and his wife, Phyllis, decided they wanted to do something to make sure the team would be able to sustain itself.

The math team receives some financial support from the school, but much of the cost of attending competitions falls on students and their families, Warren said.

Sometimes the competitions are nearby, but other years they can be as far away as California or Hawaii.

Not everyone can afford a $1,000 plane ticket, Warren thought, so he approached the school district about starting a trust fund for the team.

"I know how much it's meant to so many students," Warren said. "We wanted to make sure that not having enough money does not stand in the way of people being able to participate."

Now-retired Superintendent Dan Boyd was receptive, and the Buchholz Math Team Trust Fund was established.

Warren has committed to giving at least $3,000 a year for five years, and he's trying to get more people on board.

Ken and Linda McGurn, of McGurn Management Company, have also donated to the trust fund.

To contribute to the fund, donors can write a check to Buchholz High School and specify the money is for the Buchholz Math Team Trust Fund.

Warren said he hopes people will start to create funds for other worthy clubs and teams, as well.

Will Frazer, who teaches math and coaches the math team at Buchholz, said he's very excited about the fund. The team will use the money to defray the cost of traveling to competitions, and also to spread the wealth to middle schools.

Buchholz already works with Lincoln Middle School students, but Frazer said the team plans to expand to doing outreach at Oak View, Westwood and Ft. Clarke middle schools.

Starting in two weeks, Buchholz math team members will visit the schools weekly to work with middle-schoolers and develop their math skills.

"We're trying to find talent earlier, develop it earlier and just find it," Frazer said. "I feel like there are a lot of kids with talent who are going undiscovered."

Contact Erin Jester at 338-3166 or erin.jester@gainesville.com.

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