What it Takes to be a Morton Mathlete

Jennifer Dohoney, Reporter

Senior Mathletes after the team competition with Ms. Hettasch.

What does it take to be a Mathlete?  An attitude of ambition and interest toward getting knowledge is the key. Someone doesn’t need to be exceptional at math to be part of this club. All that is required is a desire to do your best, persist, and improve. The members of the Morton West Mathletes club proved this on Tuesday, September 25th, when they attended their first competition at Downers Grove South High School. The students were excited about this competition, since they had been waiting to try their math skills, meet new people, and of course, have a great time together as a team for the first time in this term. Although Morton West has not always came out in first place, Morton Mathletes always try their hardest.

“The questions in competition are challenging, you can’t expect to win them because they definitely require practice and reviews,” said Tamara Dzolic’19, who has been in the Mathletes club for two years. “After seeing what’s to come, I believe we will be more prepared for the upcoming competitions and will be excited for what we can accomplish.” Dzolic added.

The competition started with an individual event, where each student of the four participating schools, (Downers Grove South, Lyons Township, Morton East, and Morton West) was given a different test, either Algebra, Geometry, Advanced Algebra, or Pre-Calculus. After that, our students were divided into three groups; the first one had freshmen and sophomore students solving non-calculator problems. The second team was composed of juniors and seniors figuring out non-calculator problems as well. Meanwhile, the third group was a mix of all grades levels working on calculator problems.

Morton West came in with 4th place and Morton East in 3rd place. Meanwhile, Lyons Township came out is second place and Downers Grove South in first place.

However, the next Mathletes meetings will be useful in order to increase their practice and math skills. “We practice a different type of team or a different type of event each time we meet and we go over the problems that students don’t understand so that they are able to better get it in the future.” said Ms. Laura Hettasch, one sponsor of the Mathletes club.  “I think that the non-calculator portion team is what students struggle the most with because we rely so much on calculators here in school that is different and challenging not to be able to use it in a competition.” Hettasch said.

Marco Villegas “19 has been a Mathlete for two years, and he knows that he needs this club in order to get ready for his future career. “Well for starters, people don’t really see Mathletes as a helpful club, but for me it’s what is really going to help me build a better future for myself since as I want to study (computer) programming.” Villegas said.

The problems practiced in the club are really challenging, since they are not the type of problems that a student would see in a regular math class. “In competitions, I usually get one or two right answers, but my highest score was when I got four right last year.” Villegas mentioned.

Although our talented Mathletes haven’t reached a state competition, we’ve had some students coming out in third and second place in individual competitions. “Scoring in third or second place is a big deal for us because we are a smaller school compared to the others schools we compete with.” Ms. Hettasch said.

Besides being an awesome math tool, the Mathletes club is a place where you can have a good time. Teachers are very encouraging and students can spend time together and help each other solve math problems. “I think more students should join because of the people they can meet but also the fact that when participating in this club, many people around you will treat you differently. They will see you as sophisticated and  intellectual.” Villegas stated.

The sponsors of the Mathletes Club include Hettach, Ms. Alice Medina and Ms. Alex Payne.