Crunching Numbers with the Math Team


Members of the Math Team get ready for a meet in Mr. Schumacher’s room

Leslie Loeza, Staff writer

This is the first year that Saint Joseph High School has had a math team. The math team was all started by Mr. Schumacher, the geometry teacher. Now, he is the current moderator.


Q: Why did you start up the math team this year for Saint Joe’s?

A: “The other schools that I have taught at have always had a program and I’ve always wanted to be a part of one. This was a two year process. I wanted to do it last year, but to get us into competitions I needed to start planning things since last year.”


Q: What type of students are you looking for, if any?

A: “As of right now, we have an abundance of juniors. We have some sophomores, but we’re really looking for some freshmen and seniors. We want to give ourselves the chance to possibly win a regional or a chance to place in state.”


Q: What are you going to try to do differently in order to recruit more students?

A: “I think what it’s going to come down to is: seek out students. I feel like if I personally talk to students and ask them to do it, I can convince them especially since it’s not a yearlong commitment.”


Q: How do you think students can benefit from this club?

A: “Students not only get experience working individually, but with other students. The practices are more of an enrichment. It’s not only the type of mathematics that they see in their math course. We’re seeing them in different situations and it makes connections between the different types of math. It’s really letting them think outside of the box and use their critical thinking skills. The more experienced that the student gets in those situations, when they’re harder problem solving skills, the more they would benefit and grow. Especially for our juniors, it’s a chance for them to see some geometry and other algebra that they could potentially see on the ACT test. It works for the juniors as a practice ACT prep.”


Q: When is the next math competition that Saint Joe’s is competing in?

A: “Regionals- February 28, 2015. We’re supposed to bring six people from each grade level.”


Q: If you could change something about the math team, what would it be?

A: “Establishing a consistent time early in the year would’ve been beneficial to us. I wish I had established a meeting time earlier in the year because now we’re kind of fighting with all these different activities that meet on the same days as we do. As of right now we meet on Mondays, but that’s not always the best day because we have school off on Mondays a lot. That cancels practice and it makes it harder to meet.”


Q: In the first math competition Saint Joe’s competed in, did you think we’d win?

A: “I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew Josephinum Academy is a similar school to ours. I was talking to Josephinum’s math coach and he had said that Holy Trinity was really good the previous year. I was really worried, but of course I always had faith in us. I know we have a lot of really smart kids. Even though we didn’t have any seniors and very few kids came with us, I was happy to see that we succeeded. We played out to our potential.”


Q: How did you feel about the second competition, which we lost?

A: “Well, other schools were bringing 40 kids. We just don’t have 40 kids. Unfortunately when they calculate the scores, we’re getting a bunch of zeros because we don’t have enough kids to compete. So, we did alright. It was a harder competition with22 schools. You can’t expect the first year that we’re together to just go and really compete with these other schools. Other schools have had this program going for 10 to 20 years. We just need to recruit more to give ourselves that chance.”


Q: What are the plans for next year?

A: “We’ll probably start earlier in the year. I am planning on getting us in the Chicago Math League South, which is a bunch of Catholic Chicago schools. What that entails is four competitions on the weekends in the fall and early winter. We’d be competing against schools like Nazareth, Fenwick, Montini, and Providence.”


If you are interested in joining the Saint Joseph High School Math Team:

Practice is on Mondays (2:45pm-3:30pm) in Room 302

See Mr. Schumacher in room 302 if you have any questions