South Orangetown Central School District

Students packed the Tappan Zee High School band room and had a blast putting their math knowledge to the test today at Mu Fest, an all-day celebration of math hosted by Mu Alpha Theta, the math honor society.

Mu Fest Directors Cassandra B. and Nika C. fielded game proposals from honor society members this spring and decided which made the cut. “We’ve been in Mu since freshman year and neither of us are officers, so we wanted to contribute by making Mu Fest a great event,” Nika explained. High school math classes visit Mu Fest throughout the day. Students purchase game tickets (two for a dollar) to play and proceeds are used to purchase snack prizes and to fund math scholarships.

This year, Cottage Lane Elementary School fifth-graders in Kate Chichetti and Rebecca Coatti’s class and Pamela Cooper and Alissa Garbrous’ class traveled to the high school to try their hands at “Can Mu Handle It,” “Mu Madness” and more. “This is a great opportunity for our students to engage in math games with older students and experience what’s possible in high school,” said Ms. Chichetti.

K-5 Instructional Math Coach Shannon Bogart said that the event “is a nice tie-in to the K-5 Family Math Night and gives our fifth-graders a chance to see joining the math honor society as an option for when they get to high school.”

Mu Alpha Theta member Kennedy O. took a quick break from managing the “Can Mu Handle It” table to reflect on what makes Mu Fest special. “Everybody loves math for a day! I came up with Mr. Doctor when I was in fifth grade and saw how fun math can be. Now I’m in the math honor society and math is my favorite subject,” she noted.

“We’ve worked really hard through the district-wide Math Leadership Team on strengthening academic continuity across the grades and inspiring students by making subjects exciting and fun to explore. Mu Fest is part of that work,” says Mu Alpha Theta Co-Advisor and Math Department Team Leader Jeanne Corcoran. “My favorite part is watching them challenge themselves and not giving up–seeing that perseverance.”

This was the seventeenth Mu Fest for Mu Alpha Theta Co-Advisor and Math Team Advisor Seth Resnikoff. “We love to celebrate math in this school. A lot of our kids came up having experienced Mu Fest as fifth-graders with Paul Doctor. (Retired math teacher and Mu Alpha Theta advisor) John Schneider started Mu Fest 30 years ago and his wife, Sheila, was a fifth-grade teacher. That’s how it this all started.”

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High school and elementary students smiling