Math program divides into club and team


Junior Max Schneider, seniors Maya Karkare, Nate Rogers, Chiara Darnton and junior Ruiqi Zhang (left to right) follow along as Robert Schneider leads them through a complex number problem early in the morning on Sept. 7, 2017.

Decatur’s first-ever math club went to four competitions in the 2016-17 school year, but struggled with commitment, according to senior Chiara Darnton.

“Some people who went said, ‘This is very cool, I love this,’ and some people said, ‘This is really stressful I’m not going to do that,’’’ Darnton said. “But that’s the point of separating math club from math team because a lot of people know that competitions aren’t for them.”

On Aug. 31, Darnton and fellow seniors Eric Gluckman and Maya Karkare held an initial interest meeting for a new math team. Students from all grades showed up, but another category of diversity caught Darnton’s attention.

“I thought it was really cool how more girls than guys showed up,” she said.

As a lifelong math-lover, Darnton said she wishes she had had more female friends that were as interested in math.

During the summer of 2016 Darnton attended the Governor’s Honors Program (GHP) as a math major and found others with a similar love for numbers.

“I thought I was really into math,” Darnton said, “but everyone was way more into it than I was, and they all bonded over being on their school’s math teams and going to the same math competitions.”

Returning to school in August 2016, Darnton partnered with calculus teacher Karina Scott to create the math club.

Beyond the varsity team, the spread of interest across grade levels excites Darnton because of the possibility of having a JV team.

Robert Schneider explains the intricacies of how to solve a problem involving the complex plane at the math team’s meeting on Thursday, Aug. 7. Meanwhile, Pre-Calculus teacher Rachel Seasholtz’ hand shows up on the ActivBoard as she writes out further notes.

This school year, Darnton said a separated math team from math club will encourage more commitment to the team.  New math teacher Rachel Seasholtz will sponsor this team as they prepare for the Luella Invitational on Sept. 30.

Seasholtz graduated from the University of Georgia last year and thinks this recent exposure will help her better explain the complex problems the team will see during competitions.

Seasholtz will work with junior Max Schneider’s father, Robert, to coach and prepare the team. Because they don’t receive any funding beyond what’s allocated from the math department, Schneider said that they will hold fundraising soon, including a potential benefit concert or proceeds night at Mojo’s Pizza.

“It’s a great opportunity for freshmen and sophomores,” she said. “Since they have said they’re interested, it’s a great opportunity for them to take over once we graduate.”

The math team will meet once a week on Thursday mornings, while the math club will meet every other week, according to Darnton.

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