Stratford students compete in math challenge

Pictured are Stratford residents with their St. Joseph High School Moody Challenge teammates: back row, left to right, Sophia Ronga ’14, Matt Immerso ’13, Zak Psaras ’13, Dylan Spagnuolo ’13, Sasha Kawakami ’13; front row, left to right, Alex Pinto ’14, Stefanie Beardsworth ’14, Marina Spinelli ’14, JP Gschwind ’14.

Pictured are Stratford residents with their St. Joseph High School Moody Challenge teammates: back row, left to right, Sophia Ronga ’14, Matt Immerso ’13, Zak Psaras ’13, Dylan Spagnuolo ’13, Sasha Kawakami ’13; front row, left to right, Alex Pinto ’14, Stefanie Beardsworth ’14, Marina Spinelli ’14, JP Gschwind ’14.

This weekend two teams of five top St. Joseph High School student mathematicians will be getting Moody, including three Stratford residents, Alex Pinto, Neil O’Sullivan and Sasha Kawakami. They will be competing with nearly 6,000 other high school students from 29 states across the nation, in the annual Moody’s Mega Math Challenge.

The M3 Challenge is entirely Internet-based and begins at 7 a.m. on Saturday, March 2. From then, the teams will have until 9 p.m. that evening, or 14 hours, to solve an open-ended, realistic, applied math-modeling problem focused on a real-world issue.

The M3 Challenge spotlights applied mathematics as a powerful problem-solving tool, as a viable and exciting profession, and as a vital contributor to advances in an increasingly technical society.

“Having our students participate in the Moody Math Challenge offers them an opportunity to research and investigate a real-world situation. This opportunity is invaluable for their intellectual growth and learning to collaborate with each other and balance their strengths,” says St. Joseph High School Math Department Head Nancy Dennin.

For the students, the day will culminate in a 30-page ‘solution’, created as a group. A panel of nationally recognized, PhD-level applied mathematicians serves as judges in three rounds of judging. The top six prize-winning teams receive scholarship awards ranging from $2,500 to $20,000, which are divided equally among team members and paid directly to the colleges or universities at which the winning students enroll; however there are more than 50 awards given for this challenge.

Only the top percentage of solutions and teams are given feedback by the judging panel. Last year was St. Joe’s first attempt at the Moody Challenge — their solution was awarded just such an evaluation. This year’s teams are planning on continued success.

“This is a competition that at one level may be the most challenging academic endeavor the students have tried to date”, says St. Joe’s Moody moderator and staff member, Attila Levai. “However, the students tell me at the same time, it is the most satisfying. Writing a research paper, working with other students, meeting a short deadline; modeling an actual topic from our world, using math and mathematical reasoning, gives the student a great sense of accomplishment and pride. The success for the team is the finishing of this task, even more than the possible winning outcome.”

Coaches and teams will be notified in April of the judging results.

For more information on the M3 Challenge, visit m3challenge.siam.org

For more information, contact St. Joseph High School Director of Communications JP Deenihan at 203-378-9378, ext. 306 or via email at jdeenihan@sjcadets.org.

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