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Math team prepare for Harvard-MIT Math Tournament

Oskar Doepke
Math team members Matteo Salloum (’24) and Shelbe Yousey (’25) work on a practice problem. The team has been meeting every Tuesday to prepare for the upcoming competition.

Six High School students will compete for the first time at the biannual Harvard-MIT Math Tournament in Boston Nov. 9-13. The contest is an international math tournament where students compete in both individual and group rounds, according to HMMT.

Math Club President Matteo Salloum (’24) said he noticed a discernible lack of competition opportunities within the High School and recommended the tournament to the math department.

“I’ve always tried to bring new mathematics opportunities to the school,” Salloum said. “Over the summer, I heard about the Harvard-MIT Math Tournament, and I decided it would be a really great idea for some students because I really felt the interest is there from the community.”

Math teacher Neil Basu said the tournament differentiates itself from past math competitions the school has participated in because it prioritizes longer periods of thinking over quick rounds.

“It’s not super different in terms of the actual makeup, but the level of problems that are [at the competition] are very high,” Basu said. “It’s less about just speeding through a lot of problems quickly.”

Salloum said he met with the math department in September to suggest signing up for HMMT, which selects participating teams through a lottery system.

Once selected for the tournament, the six team members were chosen based on their UK Math Trust Senior Challenge scores, according to Basu. Students with the highest scores were invited to participate in the tournament.

Math team member Olivia Holmberg (’25) said she was thrilled to be selected for the team and looks forward to building a productive team dynamic.

“I’m excited to work with a bunch of people who are also really passionate and talented in math,” Holmberg said. “I think we are going to build a great cooperative environment over the next few sessions, especially since we have a lot of different strengths.”

Furthermore, Holmberg said the team has been studying both independently and as a group to prepare for the upcoming tournament.

“We’re all doing individual practice on our own time,” Holmberg said. “We also meet up to do team practice every Tuesday after school. During parent-teacher conferences, we met up as well just to get some more practice in so that we’re not completely new to how it is when we get there.”

Basu said he is proud of the work the math team has taken to prepare for the tournament.

“I love working with students on trying to work and solve these kinds of problems and I love seeing them be challenged in new and different ways,” Basu said. “I’ve really enjoyed seeing these six students being very into it from the moment they were sort of given the opportunity and rise to the challenges.”

Salloum said he is looking forward to connecting with fellow students at the competition and learning more about intriguing math concepts.

“I’m just really excited to meet new people at this conference,” Salloum said. “In addition, there are a lot of really cool guest speakers that come after the competition to talk about really cool concepts and I’m really looking forward to that.”

Basu said competitions such as the Harvard-MIT Math Tournament offer students exemplary opportunities to explore their interest in mathematics.

“For students who are looking to grow as mathematicians in an extracurricular way, these types of problems and challenges in math competitions offer a really cool way for students to experience math differently,” Basu said. “This just provides more opportunities for more students to engage in these types of experiences.”

Ultimately, Salloum said he hopes the math department will continue to offer the trip to inspire future generations of mathematicians.
“I hope that it will be continued in the years to come,” Salloum said. “I hope that by bringing more and more of these sorts of tournaments to ASL there will be more opportunities for kids to really get into mathematics and inspire more students in the coming years to pursue math.”

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About the Contributor
Oskar Doepke, News Editor: Print
Oskar Doepke (’25) is the News Editor: Print for The Standard. Before moving to London, he joined his old school’s newspaper due to a love for writing and passion for politics, which he continued upon joining the Standard in Grade 10. Outside of the newsroom, Doepke leads the mock trial club, plays cello and enjoys social studies. 

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