Mercy High School continues its unblemished track record with a string of three first-place finishes in the competitive Middlesex County Math League, which includes teams representing 11 high schools from throughout the county.
Mercy has been the only all-girls team to participate in the Middlesex County Math League since they began participating a few years ago.
Mercy entered the league just four years ago, in the fall of 2016. In that premiere year, the students earned second place in the large high school division in the league. In only their second year, the 2017-18 academic year, they earned first place. That finish was replicated a year later, and then again last year. The results have been impressive, consistent and increasingly gaining statewide notice.
During their run of outstanding scholarship, the students have been honored by the Middletown Town Council, which approved a resolution stating that the math team “has indisputably proven that girls do, indeed, embrace their inner mathematician as evidenced by this stellar team performance as well as exceptional individual performances.”
This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the competition will be conducted differently, but the participating students still hope to excel as they begin their fifth season. Competitions have been held remotely, with the first varsity math team meet held Oct. 8. Mercy mathletes finished the meet in first place, beating second place Xavier High School by just three points.
Official participants were Anna Gu of Middletown, Helen Yang of Cromwell, Tina Yan of Old Lyme, Alexia Fenteany from Old Saybrook and Samantha Magro of Marlborough. The League also keeps track of highest scoring senior, junior and underclassman. Anna Gu is the current highest league scorer for seniors and Alexia Fenteany is the current highest league scoring junior. Unofficial participants were Calle Dennis of Colchester, Lucy Zajack and Yuca Tang both from Middletown.
The Mercy chapter of Mu Alpha Theta is an affiliated chapter of the National High School & Two-Year College Mathematics Honor Society.
Every member of the society is active in the Mercy Math Club, which is open to students in grades 9-12. As part of honor society membership, the girls provide peer tutoring and commit to enrolling in a mathematics course each of their four years at Mercy.
“I have always been passionate about math and what I like about tutoring is that it provides me an opportunity to apply my knowledge to help other people, which makes me feel happy and rewarding,” said student Tina Yan, ’21.
In addition, the students are collecting gift cards, personal care toiletries and personal care dental items for farm workers and their families living in Connecticut. The Connecticut River Valley Farmworker Health Program provides basic healthcare services to these families, most of whom live below the federal poverty level.
“With COVID-19, their situation got worse; nevertheless, farmworkers never stopped and have continued working to provide food to all Americans and that is why the Math Honor Society has invited the Mercy community to participate in this campaign,” said student Kaila Lujambio, ‘21.
The Mercy Math Club is an opportunity for the students to enjoy their love of mathematics through everything from games to national competitions.
The Mercy Math Team is moderated by Mrs. Maureen Wellman, a Mercy alumna and retired Mercy Math teacher and department chair. Mrs. Janette Dziatko, also a Mercy alumna and current Math Department chairperson, is co-moderating the Math Team and moderates the Math Club and the Math Honor Society. The student officers this year for Mu Alpha Theta Math NHS are President Yuhan ‘Helen’ Yang of Cromwell; VP Tutoring Wenhui ‘Tina’ Yan of Old Lyme; VP Community Outreach Kaila Lujambio of Wallingford; and Secretary/Treasurer Angelica French of Clinton.
“I am and always have been proud of how hard these ladies work and how seriously they take the challenge. And it’s a huge challenge - these questions are more difficult then they see in their math classes,” Wellman said . “I find math to be as beautiful to me as someone else would see beauty in a work by Chopin or a painting by Renoir. It’s pure, it makes sense, it can be whimsical, it can be invigorating and fun. It’s my second language. And to so many young ladies who have joined the team over the years, it’s their second language also.”
By Marie Kalita