Maywood’s Math Club can count on Nidhi and Jenny

Sophie Di, Staff Writer

For many students, math is a chore, consisting of several ALEKS and Savvas pages that must be slogged through every night. So who would ever enjoy Math Club, where surely a sudden, loud sneeze must be the only excitement for the whole hour?

This isn’t the case for Maywood’s Math Club. Every week, juniors Nidhi Achanta and Jenny Le turn the club into a place for middle schoolers to practice for competitions, earn candy for answering questions, and learn concepts that aren’t taught in school, such as the Chicken McNugget Theorem. 

“The passion project in ASB was the initial reason we started it,” Le said. “It just ended up continuing for the year after.”

To complete their passion project, ASB members must dedicate their time into an activity that helps the community. After Math Club at Maywood stopped during COVID, Achanta and Le worked to restart it. 

“We’re trying to encourage them to enjoy and develop an appreciation for math,” Achanta said.

The juniors provide club members with many activities and opportunities to learn. A typical day in Math Club involves a quick warm-up, then jumping into a lesson that they prepared. Their efforts seem to have worked. 

“My favorite part is when the kids get really competitive,” Le said. “They start yelling over who got this question right for candy. That type of energy is hard to find.”

Of course, this was only a part of the reason for running the club. 

“Building the foundation is crucial to carrying Math Club on to Liberty,” Le said. “If there’s nothing in Maywood, then there’s probably going to be nothing here as well.”

Teaching at Maywood’s Math Club was a personal experience for Achanta and Le as well. 

“When I was in elementary school, I never had the same level of opportunities to do math competitions,” Achanta said. “Maywood had people who were willing to put in the effort to take us to competitions, fill out the field trip forms, teach us lessons, and go over tests.”

Yet, despite efforts made to encourage participation in math, students still make many assumptions.

“People have the perception that Math Club is intimidating or that it’s only for people who are really into math,” Achanta said. “The truth is, you’re competing with people at your math level. It really is for everyone.”

While participating in competitions is a large part of the Math Club experience, it isn’t the only thing in the club. 

“Math Club is a lot about community building, and working with and trusting your teammates. It’s a really fun experience, even if you don’t think you’re that good at math,” Le said.