The excitement of competition and lure of a cash reward are the incentives as a math league attracts top high school competitors.
At Presbyterian Christian School senior Jacob von Herrmann agrees that competition and the cash incentive were his motivation to participate this year, for the first time in Jones County Junior College’s Bobcat Math League. This is a math competition for students in grades 9-12.
“I’m going into engineering, so I’ll have to do math a lot,” von Herrmann said. “I’ve always been very competitive, so it’s a way to address that.”
The math league lasts six weeks and started in the fall of 2012, expanding the college’s one day Math Bowl. The idea was to take the mentality and culture of football and convert it to mathematics.
Last year, Presbyterian Christian School’s eight-person team won the Super Bowl, and the students split $2,500.
This year, PCS is hoping for a repeat. This year’s team is in first place in its division after two weeks. Other teams in the division include Oak Grove High School and Sacred Heart.
PCS math instructor Melissa Brown said being in the league is a good experience for the students.
“It’s great practice for the kids,” she said. “It helps them review the skills they may have forgotten from Algebra I and II and geometry. It keeps them sharp for the ACT and PSAT.”
Brown said the math league gives students an opportunity to challenge themselves off the field.
“It gives them a chance to be competitive in something other than athletics and gets the word out that we can compete and do well in things other than athletics,” she said. “(Math league) is every bit as heated and serious as a football game is.”