Math and Science Competitions heat up at THS

Members+of+the+Math+and+Science+team+competed+at+Blue+Mountain+College+on+%0AFebruary+12%2C+2019+and+at+Mississippi+School+Math+Science+on+February+15.+
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Math and Science Competitions heat up at THS

Members of the Math and Science team competed at Blue Mountain College on 
February 12, 2019 and at Mississippi School Math Science on February 15.

Members of the Math and Science team competed at Blue Mountain College on February 12, 2019 and at Mississippi School Math Science on February 15.

Monica Rowe

Members of the Math and Science team competed at Blue Mountain College on February 12, 2019 and at Mississippi School Math Science on February 15.

Monica Rowe

Monica Rowe

Members of the Math and Science team competed at Blue Mountain College on February 12, 2019 and at Mississippi School Math Science on February 15.

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With the school year halfway over and entering its second semester, some school activities have come to a close until next August while some activities are just starting as Tupelo enters spring. But one thing that is always in full swing at Tupelo are the competitions.

Tupelo students take part in a wide array of competitions, and many different types of students take part. There are athletic competitions from football to archery to band; there are acting competitions for thespians and art competitions for the artists; and there are academic competitions for those who find that their passion lies there.

“Since 7th grade, I’ve been working hard and getting ready for every competition that I do and working hard in science and math class and making sure that I understand the concept that the teachers are teaching,” Rebekah Buzzell said when asked about how long she’s been preparing for these types of academic competitions.

Many students involved in these types of competitions work hard in class to maintain their grades to ensure that they stay on the team- and keep their mind sharp and flexible for the information they need to maintain.

“You have to have a recommendation from a teacher, and we travel to different schools, different colleges, where we compete with other high schools in our area.” Mr. Robert Presley, science teacher at THS and Coach for the Math and Science team said.

Students gather together when they can so work on their weaknesses and strengthen their strengths, studying and teaching each other what they can before the next competition.

“During T.A., mostly every T.A. each week, we study, going over past notes from classes, doing questions that we remember from past tests. We also review any news about new scientific discoveries and upperclassmen often tutor and coach our underclassmen in the rules and possible topics that they may encounter on the tests,” Presley said. “A lot of seniors, they know they’re getting ready for college and this, what they do in the classroom, is helping them prepare for college.”

”Yeah, it’s been fun. I would try and get up there to teach on the board,” Eli Smart, a junior on the team said. “It was good work, trying to teach people just the basics of AP chemistry.”

This preparation pays off, and the amount of work the students put into this is shown through the results of the competitions.

“[We] came back with some first and second place finishes. Then Science Bowl was at Mississippi University of Women. We finished in the top 10 in the state in that one,” Presley said.

However, the winning competitors win more than bragging rights or a participation certificate. Often times they win things that not only benefit them now in high school, but things that will help them even after they graduate and are long gone from the team, things like scholarships.

“They get medals and also, more importantly, they offer scholarships. Scholarships are awarded for the top scores. Mississippi College offers an almost complete full ride if they do well and North East [Community College] does the same thing as well as Mississippi University for Women.” Presley said. “I’m hoping we’ll have  more students interested and get involved next year. I certainly hope we can compete in more competitions next year.”

With so much at stake, some students who participate find themselves fearful to answer, afraid of messing it up for everyone around them. It’s not uncommon to hear students speak about their fear of failure or, with enough wrong answers, fear of rejection or hate from the team.

But even though many of the members have gone through this phase of fear, they made sure to make it known that there is no room for anger or rejection on their team.

“We’ve gotten to know each other a lot better,” a member of the Math and Science team, Mackenzie Meeks said.

Smart advises future team members, “There’s often a lot of pressure, almost false pressure, because you feel like if you get the answers wrong, everybody’s gonna hate you . We’re not gonna hate you. I would freeze up the whole time and not answer anything because I was so scared the whole time to answer, don’t be like me.”

”Don’t be too nervous, and don’t take it too seriously because if you do bad it’s okay,” Buzzel said, “Try your best so that you can do well in the long run.”

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