Math department’s search for a Mathcounts coach continues as learning time ticks away


Diana Ballek

The mathletes pose for a picture at the Southern Nevada Mathcounts competiton. The returning students wait anxiously for a new coach so they can get back to learning and may recieve a higher rank in the next competition.

Danae Mueller, Editor

Cheesy math videos, long equations, laughing children, and students crunching numbers into their calculators; all typical things for Faith Lutheran’s Mathcounts club. However, these students currently lack a key component to their success: their math coach.

Every team of some sort needs a coach; whether it be a sports team or a less physical, but brain-powered team. Previous members that have participated in Mathcounts say they would do the program again. However, due to the unavailability of a math teacher volunteering to coach these eager students, the program cannot start. Without a mentor, these students cannot learn the mysterious formulas of math.

The Mathcounts program prepares students for upper-level math classes and presents these students with complex problems that require a great deal time to solve. This club prepares for a competition “where they compete against other schools solving higher order thinking math problems,” said Mrs. Abbie Hazel, seventh and eighth grade Algebra One teacher.

The students that compete in Mathcounts, nicknamed mathletes, must be middle school students that participate in a math class of algebra or higher.

Also, if a teacher wanted to become the coach, the would need to meet similar criteria.

“Coaches would need a math knowledge above algebra one in order to be a good coach,” said Hazel.

The previous coach, Mrs. Maria Castens, a sixth grade advanced math teacher, has moved away and no longer teaches at Faith. Previous members enjoyed how Castens ran their meetings. During these morning meetings, she would bring food such as doughnuts, due to the early start which took a toll on the members’ sleep.

Eshaan Verma, an eighth grader, said that Castens “taught us how to make things fun.”

Even though Mathcounts has serious math formulas and a long competition day, most students enjoyed participating in the club. Plus, these students have realized how much their math abilities have increased since they’ve competed in Mathcounts.

Verma was more of a “straight-up math guy,” but he has gotten better at understanding and solving word problems. In addition, the extra-curricular activity gave him the opportunity to bring out his inner interest in math. Verma feels that the club gives students who like math an opportunity to grow in their abilities and then take what they’ve learned and put it into use at a competition.

Ninth grader, Joe Choo, has gotten better at trusting himself, and others, to have the right answer. Before, Choo would finish his tests last because he double-checks every problem. Now, he can trust himself that he has the correct answer on “the fly.”

Last year’s mathletes placed fifth for their first appearance in the math competition.

“Which is stellar,” said Choo via email, “because the top three schools were so focused on glory and we scratched their heels.”

Also, for a side note, most of the other schools that participated in the competition have Mathcounts as a class where our mathletes only met twice a week.

Although the extra-circular activity benefits students, Verma and fellow eighth grader, Ethan Osan, do not think the school will crumble if a teacher doesn’t step in to teach the club.

Verma believes that people won’t be as interested due to this generation “growing up with technology.” He assumes that not a lot of students would want to join an “extra math class” just for fun.

Osan thinks that reforming Mathcounts would give math pupils a place to hang out while learning.

“Mathletes uses education to inspire students because this school needs something other than ball-catching athletes,” Osan said.

Mathcounts has helped the math skills of some select members of the student body and other students interested in math would benefit from getting a math teacher to volunteer and lead this club.

Please click link for PDF version of the story: Mathcounts Danae Mueller