‘Mathematical Mayhem’ Is No Problem for Students from 11 High Schools in Competition at Stockton

 For Immediate Release

Contact:         Maryjane Briant
                        News and Media Relations Director
                        Galloway, N.J. 08205
                        (609) 652-4593

Galloway, N.J. – Over 120 students from 11 area high schools competed today in “Mathematical Mayhem” at Stockton University, with Absegami High School taking both first and second place in the team competition and two students with perfect scores tying for first in the individual contest.

Ebose Eigbe of Cedar Creek High School in Egg Harbor City, and Avi Rabra of Ocean City High School, shared top honors, which eliminated second place. Beth Anne Castellano of Egg Harbor Township was the third-place winner.

Absegami High School’s Jessi Vangawala, Andy Giana and Sofia Graziano were the top team, and right on their heels with a one-point difference in scores, was the second-place team:  Sydney Mullin, Janvi Patel and Derek Michael, all freshmen at Absegami in Galloway, N.J. In third were Cedar Creek’s Nicholas Klapatch, Azim Khan and Ebose Eigbe.

“This is the sixth year for this event and the largest one to date,” said Chia-Lin Wu, professor of Mathematics and founder of the competition. It is designed to reduce test anxiety, increase student confidence and provide high school students with a taste of college life, he said.

Students compete in challenging individual and team exams which assess their current skill development and help them see how they stack up against peers from other schools.

“I think it’s great - top students come here and compete against other students, and it can be a reality check,” said Chris South, a math teacher from Southern Regional High School in Ocean County, who has attended for the past five years. He noted that students who are not always at the top of their classes also benefit, and in his experience, some of them “do very well in the competition.”       

Manav Vakil, president of the math club at Southern Regional, said he liked competing against other schools, which brought his group together. “There’s nice teamwork going on and bonding as a school,” said Vakil, a junior from Manahawkin, N.J.

David Carpenter, a junior from Galloway who attends Cedar Creek, said: “The competition is really interesting because you get to do math that you normally don’t ever practice.”

“It makes you think,” added Nicholas Klapatch, a member of the Cedar Creek team which took third place.

Here’s one example of a problem from the group test:

A train, an hour after departing, is stopped by an accident on the tracks that had occurred earlier.The accident detains the train for 30 minutes, after which the train proceeds at 3/4 of its usual speed. These delays cause the train to arrive 3.5 hours late. If the accident happened 90 miles farther along the tracks, the train would have only arrived 3 hours late. What is the length of the entire trip in miles?

The competition is sponsored by the Math program in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and students in the Math Club and Pi Mu Epsilon New Jersey Omicron chapter.

About 22 percent of all the math and science majors in New Jersey’s senior public colleges and universities earn their degree at Stockton. A number of the teachers who bring their students to the competition are Stockton graduates. 

“I’m impressed that these kids give up their Saturday to do a competition,” said John Gazo, a math teacher from Cedar Creek and a Stockton ’02 graduate. “One kid even gave up a chance to work today - he was willing to take a pay cut to do this.”

Gazo said Wu was his professor when he attended Stockton and he brings students here each year.

“He’s helping the high school community connect to the college community,” Gazo said of Wu.
“These are the minds of tomorrow,” and exposing them to Stockton can entice some to apply, he said.

Participating high schools send teams of three students to compete. Forty-one teams were comprised of 123 competitors from Absegami High School, Atlantic City High School, Atlantic County Institute of Technology, Cedar Creek High School, Cumberland Regional High School, Egg Harbor Township High School, Mainland Regional High School, Middletown High School North, Ocean City High School, Oakcrest High School and Southern Regional High School.

The exams were created and graded by Stockton Math faculty, with members of the Stockton Math Club proctoring the timed exams.