Mu Alpha Theta members begin their year with the MCTM Tournament


Devesh Kumar

On Saturday, January 30, math teacher Bob Borst hosted a MCTM math contest for elementary and middle school students with the help of various math teachers from Columbia Public Schools.
“It’s a way for the students to put their talent and their skills up against somebody else,” Borst said. “We do that an awful a lot with basketball, soccer, and football and this is an opportunity with mathematics that kids can compete up against one another to see who the top mathematicians are in our schools.”
This contest wouldn’t have been possible without the help of volunteers from Mu Alpha Theta, RBHS’s chapter of the National Math Honor Society.
“Over 30 members from Mu Alpha Theta helped Mr. Borst and various elementary school math teachers host MCTM, a math competition held for kids in 4th to 7th grade,” Mu Alpha Theta President and junior Boon Palipatana said. “We as volunteers were responsible for distributing the tests, proctoring with the math teachers, grading, and finally entering the scores into the MathLeague database.”
Vice president Stephanie Zhang was one of those officers that helped to organize the event by signing up the volunteers.
“Mr. Borst planned the entire competition, and he needed volunteers to help out,” Zhang said. “In Mu Alpha Theta, five service hours are required to receive a certificate saying they have completed the requirements of membership for Mu Alpha Theta. By helping out at MCTM, they could have earned most or even all of their required hours.”
This MCTM tournament was a learning experience for the volunteers as well as the students.
“I think the thing which affected me the most was the perseverance of the kids and their hard work,” Mu Alpha Theta volunteer and junior Nick Wright-Osment said. “Many of the tests we graded had very few correct answers, but the kids never gave up and they tried to answer as much as they could in the allowed time. It was actually pretty inspirational.”
According to Wright-Osment, MCTM also gave the volunteers an opportunity to experience how a tournament should be run, as they will have another tournament in March called March Mathness.
“Mu Alpha Theta will host March Mathness at Rock Bridge High School on March 19th. Along with the ‘math competition’ aspect MCTM has, March Mathness also strives to present a ‘math fun day’ vibe,” Palipatana said. “Through the day, after completing a math competition test, students will venture through math booths, which will present them with fun activities and revolve around key mathematical concepts. At these booths, kids will acquire tickets, which they’ll be able to use at a prize station. We, as a club, strive to instill an enthusiasm for mathematics in our community, and we believe that March Mathness fulfills that purpose.”
By Devesh Kumar