For Seabury Hall’s math team, competition plus community service equals success

Seabury+Hall%27s+Math+Team+hopes+to+repeat+the+success+the+achieved+last+year+at+the+Math+Bowl.+

Courtesy of Jasmine Doan

Seabury Hall's Math Team hopes to repeat the success the achieved last year at the Math Bowl.

Not very many high school students enjoy doing extremely complicated math problems, but some Seabury Hall students spend extra time each year doing just that. For the students on Seabury Hall’s Math Team, solving difficult problems has earned them success in the annual Hawaii Math Bowl, as well as recognition in the Maui community for their math-based community service.

Senior Jasmine Doan, who founded the Math Team and Math Circle four years ago, said, “I founded the Math Team in ninth grade. Then as a junior, I created the Math Circle to help elementary school students in the community.”

The Math Team and Circle were created not only for mathletes but also for all students who want to take part in a learning-based activity.

Math looks like an individual activity, but in some cases, it takes the whole team to solve one problem. Participants in math competitions have to work together and practice together to overcome the complex problems they face.

Jesse Doan, a Seabury Hall sophomore, said, “The Seabury Hall Math Team works together to practice math problems, participate in the Math Circle, and go to six meets every year to win as a team.”

The first step in joining the Math Team is to show a certain level of dedication. “The Math Team is for anyone who is willing to see if they like math, show dedication to learning, and challenge themselves with complex problems,” said Jesse Doan.

“I cannot stress how important it is that new members are always welcome, and I can promise it helps improve all math skills. The team is not only for someone who excels at solving math problems, but accepts anyone who just wants to improve their problem solving abilities,” said senior and Math Team member Corin Nishimoto.

Challenging oneself involuntarily is difficult to start with, but these students who participate voluntarily in math and logic problems are the people who show higher levels of dedication towards learning.

The Math Team focuses on improving problem-solving capabilities, which applies not only apply to math classes but also to the majority of classes people take from elementary school through high school.

“The Math Team requires, if anything, just a lot of time and dedication to studying what we expect to be on the test. The Maui competition gives a fair amount of hints to what will be on the test. It’s similar to a spelling bee, you have to study a significant amount to be successful, unlike the Math Bowl which is more intellectual,” said Kevin Lewis, a Seabury Hall senior.

This year the current members of the Math Team have to reach the high bar that was raised by the team of 2013-2014 with their success against the larger Oahu schools.

Mr. Krulewich, the coach of last year’s Math Team that led them to outscore the larger schools on Oahu, said in an email, “[The Math Team’s] success was due to the commitment, hard work, and enthusiasm of the team members, or mathletes. Thanks to great student leadership and dedicated team members, the team also outscored all other schools at the annual Hawaii State Math Bowl held at Brigham Young University on Oahu.”

When Seabury Hall’s Math Team outscored Iolani and Punahou at the annual Math Bowl, it was not only a surprise, but also a huge accomplishment for a small school from Maui.

In the weeks leading up to the competition, the Math Team worked hard to prepare for the event. “Jasmine Doan organized weekly practices that were both helpful and fun for the team,” said Krulewich by email. Their practices twice a week involved doing worksheets from previous year’s competitions and some fun games, which helped lead them towards success.

The Math Circle is a prime example of the student leadership brought by Jasmine Doan that helped to bring the team together as a whole. This program is focused on community service and helping younger students within our small Maui community.

Seabury Hall's Math Circle works with students at Pu'u Kukui Elementary School to help them develop their math skills.
Jasmine Doan
Seabury Hall’s Math Circle works with students at Pu’u Kukui Elementary School to help them develop their math skills.

“We do it at Pu’u Kukui Elementary School in Wailuku, and the program lasts for about two and a half hours with about 100 kids every session. The great thing about the Math Circle is that we get volunteers through the math team, but also students and teachers from schools around the island,” said Jasmine Doan.

The Math Circle is a great opportunity for all students to contribute towards making our community better, in addition to having fun and fulfilling community service requirements for school. The third, fourth, and fifth graders who take part in this frequent activity are exposed to advanced levels of math that help inspire them to become more successful in school and hopefully create interest in learning.

Seabury Hall’s Math Team encourages anyone who has inspiration and dedication to join both the competing team and the Math Circle. The Math Circle has information on its website about participating as a volunteer, signing up a student, and taking a leadership role in the community at (Mauimathcircle.weebly.com).

If you are interested in joining the Math Team, please speak with Mr. Wilson or Mr. Levinson, the current teacher leaders, and ask them for more information about joining the fun and learning.