'Mathletes' competition more than just another sporting event


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I guess I should have expected it to be like any other sporting event. Students were preparing for competition by talking, laughing, fidgeting, trying to get rid of nervous energy. Only after all the equipment had been passed out and the referee blowing the whistle and/or shouting "BEGIN!" would the noise suddenly subside as students engaged in the competition. But this wasn't any ordinary sporting event, for the equipment was a pencil, some scratch paper and a test.

I had the pleasure of attending the Middle School Math Event at Julian Middle School on Thursday, May 5, and at Brooks Middle School on Friday, May 6. It was amazing. At each event, there were between 200-300 students in the crowded lunch rooms participating in individual and team competitions. Fifth grade math students from each of the middle school's four feeder schools along with 6th and 7th grade math students participated, and the 8th graders acted as proctors and graders. There were trophies, medals, raffle prizes, a pizza lunch and to top it all off, a CAST production was held at Julian and BRAVO and dance troupe performances were held at Brooks. Whew! What a time?

This event is the culmination of the efforts of many math teachers. However, this event, in its tenth year, is the brain and heart child of D97 Middle Level Math Coordinator, Margaret Farmar (Maggie). Maggie's energy and enthusiasm for math are boundless. This event celebrates math and all math students can compete as schools and teams conduct their own selection process. Though teams were limited in size to 24 students, some teams were nearing 30 students. As Maggie, the referee at Julian or Julianne King, the referee at Brooks, yelled, "TIME!" the pencils went down and the noise level went back up. I guess I should have expected it to be like any other sporting event. But this wasn't any ordinary sporting event. This time the jocks were mathletes.

Michelle Harton, D97 School Board Member
Oak Park

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