by Mia Dittrich
Mu Alpha Theta is a high school and two-year college mathematics honors society. Byram Hills students taking advanced math classes were initiated into Mu Alpha Theta this fall and they have spent the last few months racking up points to earn their places in the Math Honors Society. These points were obtained by giving younger students math homework help, working bake sales, or attending Puzzle Day, which was a day devoted to teaming up with friends and competing to solve complicated mathematical puzzles. On April 24th, students who successfully earned their 10 points through participating in these activities will attend the induction ceremony and earn their certifications. However, Mu Alpha Theta has impacted the Byram Hills community far beyond giving students experience to add to their resumés.
Senior and Mu Alpha Theta Secretary Alan Chang notes that “Mu Alpha Theta aims to promote the synergy behind mathematical curiosity coupled with community service. From leading after-school homework help sessions to managing Pi Day bake sales, Mu Alpha Theta provides a way for students to spread their love of math and enjoy math more themselves!” Indeed, Mu Alpha Theta provides students with a myriad of leadership opportunities, from tutoring and guiding younger students on their mathematical journeys, to leading their Puzzle Day teams to greatness.
Throughout the different grades at Byram Hills, the students in Mu Alpha Theta all believe the society has made a positive impact on them in one way or another. Sophomore John D’Avanzo explains that “Mu Alpha Theta is a great way to get involved in the math community! It’s great to be able to help younger kids at after-school help and be a part of a group of other students who are interested in math. Also, Puzzle Day is a great event to get involved in and it is a lot of fun!” It was a popular opinion among the sophomores that Puzzle Day presented an excellent opportunity for students to team up with their friends and have fun with math, a subject that is often kept to a strict structure.
Moreover, students enjoyed the excellent opportunities given to students as members of Mu Alpha Theta to give back to the community. Sophomore Lizzie Manowitz said, “I really like how Mu Alpha Theta promotes community service within the math community at Byram Hills. Volunteering at HCC math extra help was really rewarding and I really enjoyed working with the kids.”
Most importantly, all of the Mu Alpha Theta candidates can agree that Mu Alpha Theta has taught them that there is more to math than solving problems in a classroom setting. It provides an interesting experience of combining math with volunteering that many students never thought was possible. Seeing the fruits of their labor, such as the Pi-decorated windows and all of the students whose skills improved after receiving extra help, was truly eye-opening.