By Meghan Byrnes, Morgan Brang and Ellie Wheeler
Managing Editor of Production, Assistant Managing Editor of Production and Staff Writer
Being a top mathematics student in the country is a big deal, which at Jamesville-DeWitt High School is recognized by being inducted into Mu Alpha Theta, the national mathematics honor society for students in high school and two-year colleges. “The club showcases students’ excellence in math,” said math teacher and advisor Betty Wood. Several teachers in the math department oversee the organization along with Mrs. Wood, including math teachers Meaghan Mark and Sue Techman.
Since Mrs. Wood is an adviser, in the beginning of the year she informed many of her classes about the opportunity to join Mu Alpha Theta. “Everyone in class seemed pretty excited about it,” said senior Owen Williams. Mrs. Wood also said that most of the class (that Williams was in) would be eligible for it. Williams was excited that this opportunity had come to him. Juniors Ben Wipper, Sam Griffiths and Julia Slisz were all encouraged by Mrs. Wood to join in class. Senior Ella DiGiovanni said that her math teacher, Michael Klemperer, told her Algebra 2 class about it. Junior Urmi Roy also found out about Mu Alpha Theta from Mr. Klemperer. Application sheets were passed around DiGiovanni’s and other homerooms as well.
Mu Alpha Theta is available for students who have an average of 90 or higher in the upper level courses, starting with Algebra 2. “The application process is very easy,” said Mrs. Wood, and her students agree with her. Although the process of actually applying is fairly simple, to be accepted is not so easy and is a big accomplishment.
“We had to write down our average for every math class that we’ve completed,” said Roy. The averages of the individual classes are combined, and if they average out over 90 percent, the student is considered qualified and usually accepted. However, being accepted isn’t just about the numbers. The advisors talk to the applicant’s teachers about the student as well. The students who were accepted were notified by a letter in the mail.
J-DHS offered Mu Alpha Theta for the first time to students last year. Mrs. Wood wanted to have officers for Mu Alpha Theta, so she held an open election, available to anyone in it who wanted to try to become an officer. Senior Ryan Pike, who was elected president of Mu Alpha Theta this year, was a part of the club in the 2012-2013 school year as well. Because of his valuable experience and his new ideas about what the club should do for the 2013-2014 school year, Pike was chosen to fulfill his current position.
“I wanted to join Mu Alpha Theta because I really like math and I've taken pride in doing well in math over my high school years,” said junior Brian Cieplicki. Wipper and Slisz agree with Cieplicki, saying that since they had the grades, they figured it was a good thing to be a part of. Williams, Pike and DiGiovanni believe that Mu Alpha Theta can help you get into a better college, because it’s the Math Honor Society. Pike says that it won't really help him, because he is not majoring in math, but it would “definitely help someone who wants to major in engineering or accounting.” Williams agrees with Pike, but says that he wants to minor in math, so “Mu Alpha Theta will definitely help me get into somewhere good.” DiGiovanni says that “Mu Alpha Theta will look amazing on any college activities list.”
Mrs. Wood says that “the math community hopes that Mu Alpha Theta in Jamesville-DeWitt becomes bigger as people become more aware of it.” In order to bring awareness to the club and raise money, Mu Alpha Theta has been planning fundraisers including one that would involve throwing pies at math teachers’ faces. “In years past we haven't done much and we are trying to change that this year,” said Pike. The club is growing year to year and hopes to be involved in more fundraisers and activities as their awareness spreads.