By GABRIELLA CRUZ-MARTÍNEZ
The Mount Carmel Mathematics Team recently visited the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and placed eleventh in the 2018 Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) State Math Contest Finals, marking the first time Mount Carmel High School, 640 S. Dante Ave., has both qualified and placed in the school’s history and team’s existence.
The purpose of the ICTM State Math Contests is to recognize outstanding mathematical achievement, encourage independent study, stimulate interest in mathematics, and provide a wholesome meeting ground for students and teachers of mathematics through academic competition, according to the Math Department of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, which hosted the event this year.
According to the ICTM, the high school portion of the contests consists of two parts, a regional competition held in February, with top teams moving on to the state finals in May. As many as 50 students or a few as one student can participate from each school.
During the event, the Mt. Carmel Caravan faced a hefty challenge competing with only seven participants in the eight-person team, according to the team’s statement. However, that didn’t prevent the team from getting the job done. In addition to the team performance, freshman Kolton Hall of Valparaiso, Indiana placed tenth in the Algebra I individual category.
“The guys were able to adapt to a smaller than normal team with no problem at all,” said David Milavickas, Mount Carmel math teacher and team moderator. “We were also the only all-boys school in the Archdiocese of Chicago to qualify and compete in the state competition so I am incredibly proud of what our students accomplished.”
The team completed a timed exam requiring a full team effort with everyone playing their own role, according to sophomore Jon Weber of St. John, Indiana. While shorthanded during the competition, Weber said it only added to the experience.
“Having seven guys was a small challenge but we knew we had to work with what we had,” said Weber. “It means a lot to also be on the first team from Mt. Carmel (to qualify for the ICTM State Finals) and I did what I could to take in every second on that great day.”
Mt. Carmel freshman Max Milavickas said the team wanted to showcase the school’s academic strengths.
“We know that Mount Carmel is historically known for athletics,” said Max Milavickas, son of David Milavickas, in a written statement. “We want our performance from this weekend to show what our primary focus is: academics.”
Max Milavickas also said that the competition gave them “a chance to show how much we love math and embrace our inner nerds.”