Math Club Ceremony

April 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Math Club logo designed by Joe Sandoval

On Thursday, April 26, the Math Club held its 28th annual awards ceremony in the Melvin Henderson-Rubio Conference Room. Loyal parents had decked the tables with goodies for the celebratory conclusion; meanwhile, students set up extra chairs, handed out programs, and guided parents and guests to their seats. Members of the faculty and administration lined the walls, as did some juniors and seniors, thus leaving some places available for family members who had come to honor their sons. Moderator Eve Salas evicted two rows of students to make additional room for parents, grandparents, and other adults who were standing in the back. Next year, Mrs. Salas hopes to move back into the gym (“but only half of it”) so everyone can have a seat. This year there was a game scheduled, so the gym was not available.

After the opening prayer led by Math Club Secretary David Delgado, Vice President Daniel Salas, a graduating senior, acknowledged the size of the turnout, commenting that Cathedral has arguably the largest high school math club in the nation, in part because it appeals to a diverse community interested not only in academics but also arts and games.

Matias Farfan IV, Mathematician of the Year

Although Mrs. Salas carefully orchestrated her ceremony to build suspense, this article presents the big news, Mathematician of the Year, first. This is the Math Club’s highest award, and it is conferred upon “the student who has maintained the highest GPA in mathematics for four years, has continuously earned medals for excellence in math, and has shown dedication to the Math Club through his service in all activities.” This year that honor went to senior Matias Farfan IV.

Four-Year Service Award recipient Julian Tolosa

For his dedication and service to the Math Club, senior Julian Tolosa received the Four-Year Service Award. His mother, Ms. Encarnacion Tolosa, was recognized for her “fifteen years of tireless service” and “nonstop food donations” to the Math Club and to the two other organizations moderated by Mrs. Salas, the National Honor Society and the California Scholarship Federation. As Mrs. Salas explained, Ms. Tolosa “has four sons [beginning with keynote speaker Martin (Class of 2001), followed by Nicholas (Class of 2002), Christian (Class of 2010) and ending with senior Julian (Class of 2012)], and I have the honor of having all of them as my students.”

Special presentations were also made in recognition of two teachers. Associate Director for Activities and Cathedral alumnus Ryan Resurreccion (Class of 2003) [see Purple Letter of August 30, 2011] made a special presentation as well. With a quotation from John Ruskin, Mr. Resurreccion acknowledged “a seasoned teacher, past English Department Chair, mentor, and one of Cathedral High School’s legends,” Nancy Price, for 25 years of service, some of it presenting honors at the Math Club Awards Ceremonies.

Mrs. Salas also made a point to recognize another former student, Br. Chris Patiño, FSC (Class of 2002) [See Purple Letter of Jan. 12, 2009]. Like Mr. Resurreccion, he is also a former keynote speaker for the Math Club Awards Ceremony. She told the audience that Br. Chris took seriously the phrase “Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve.” While a student at the University of Arizona, he worked in the foundation of San Miguel, a Lasallian school in Tucson. After his novitiate year in Napa, he returned to Cathedral in 2008, where he has served as religion teacher, moderator of Lasallian Youth, vocation coordinator, and Director of Student Life.

The first awards, presented for Creativity in Math, went to students for their origami butterflies. The geometric paper-folding was enhanced in two ways. The first group were “realistic,” and required research to determine accurate colors and wing-shapes for butterflies from four continents. The second group, “futuristic,” combined creative imagination and artistic merit. Winners were chosen by the faculty. Michael Candaza and Jesse Flores, members of the Math Club Board of Representatives, and teacher Nancy Price presented the awards. For the realistic butterfly, first place went to Jordan Franklin; second place to David Galvan, and third place to Jose Aguilera. For the futuristic butterfly, first place went to Michael Nevarez, second place to Eric Sweasey, and third place to Jack Arias.

The Math Club sponsors several contests during the year, each requiring math and problem-solving skills. As a way of introducing freshmen to the competition, all the games are played by teams.

Crossmatic uses grade-level teams, and awards went to first and second runners-up for freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Joseph Tristan Gonzales and Michael Domingo, members of the Board of Representatives, and Dean of Students Sulema Modesto presented the certificates. Freshman champions were Michael Nevarez and Joshua Meza. There was a tie at the sophomore level, with Daniel Talavera & Alex Perez and Nathaniel Sun & Matthew Nuesca sharing the honors. Junior champions were Ryan Sagucio and Matthew Ortiz, and senior champions were Steve Lee and Mynor Franco.  The champion teams met in a play-off, and the grand champions were seniors Steve Lee and Mynor Franco.

Like Crossmatic, the 24-Game also uses grade-level teams, and Representatives Ian Gomez and Andrew Bille, together with Dean of Students Wendy Ruiz, presented awards to first and second runners-up and to the champion for each grade level. Freshman champions were Andrew Lucero and Matthew Padua; sophomore winners were a team of three: Nathaniel Sun and Kristian & Tristan Nuñez. Junior winners were Xavier Smith and Ricardo Olivares, and senior winners were Daniel Salas and Julian Tolosa. Again, the grade-level winners competed for the Grand Championship, and graduating seniors Daniel Salas and Julian Tolosa vanquished all opponents, retiring undefeated after four years of competition!

Krypto is similar to the 24-Game, but it requires mixed grade-level teams: juniors join forces with sophomores; seniors work with freshmen. Board members Ricardo Olivares and Patrick Vong and Dean of Services John Ferrante presented awards to first and second runners-up as well as to the champions for each team. For the junior-sophomore team the winners were junior Johnathan Luc and sophomore Joseph Tristan Gonzales. Among the senior-freshman teams, there was a tie: senior Justin Dominguez & freshman Michael Domingo, and senior Matias Farfan & freshman Vicente Mojares. The winning teams competed for the grand championship, which went to Johnathan Luc and Joseph Tristan Gonzales.

The speaker for the occasion was Cathedral alumnus Martin Tolosa, Class of 2001, whose high school resumé included Math Club, Student Senate, cross country, and track & field teams. At UCLA he earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology and minored in Asian Studies. After graduation he worked as Assistant Director of UCLA Pilipino Advancing Community Empowerment (2004-2005). Beginning in 2006 he was a tutor in science and math for Academic Advantage of Los Angeles and was hired as project coordinator of Asian Pacific Health Care Venture, Inc., where he worked until 2009. Currently he is a youth mentor under the M+M Project in Chinatown while also pursuing a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Practice at USC.

Math Club Moderator Eve Salas

Following Martin‘s inspirational talk, Mrs. Salas acknowledged she was “very proud” to have had him as a student, not only for his “very good character, but also [because he was] very good academically, a real scholar.”

On February 27, the Math Department administered a school-wide test to all students enrolled in mathematics this year. The following awards were determined by combining 50% of their current math class GPA with 50% of their math test results. Gold, silver and bronze medals went to students with the highest totals in each math class; certificates went to fourth and fifth place finishers.

Dean of Students Mike Trafecanty, together with Board members Julian Tolosa and Tristan Hom, presented awards for academic excellence to freshmen in Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Geometry, Geometry Honors, and Algebra II Honors.

Then students Steven Hernandez and Armando Freire joined Director of Student Activities Director Ryan Resurreccion to present awards to the sophomores in Geometry, Geometry Honors, Algebra II, Algebra II Honors, and Pre-Calculus Honors.

Director of Student Life Br. Chris Patiño and Board members Emmanuel Licup and Earl John Reyes presented the juniors with awards in Geometry, Algebra II, Statistics, Pre-Calculus Honors, and AP Calculus AB.

Finally, Terry Catlin, Director of Guidance & Counseling, joined Board members Matthew Nuesca and Vicente Mojares to present awards in Pre-Calculus Honors, Statistics, Pre-Calculus, AP Calculus AB, and AP Calculus BC to the seniors.

Mrs. Salas asked Principal Br. John Montgomery to help her present service award plaques to the Math Club Executive Officers, whose efforts made possible the games and activities that the Club sponsors. These dedicated students are Jack Arias, Christopher Bonnin, Marcus Chavez, Michael Domingo, Robert Serrano, Diego Vera, Vicente Mojares, Brian Cordova, Matthew Nuesca, Tristan Hom, Luis Llobrera, Emmanuel Licup, Paolo Arnel Joaquin, Norman Zelada, Joseph Lacson, Earl John Reyes, Jeremy Calleja, Joshua Khan, Joseph Tristan Gonzales, Mark Muñoz, Ian Gomez, Andrew Bille, Armando Freire, Paul Ji, Steve Lee, Jaime Adame, Jesse Flores, Julian Tolosa, Matias Farfan IV, Justin Dominguez, James Pineda, Patrick Vong, and Michael Candaza.

After closing remarks by Math Club President (and Mathematician of the Year) Matias Farfan IV, Norman Zelada led the Club in reciting their Pledge (written by Gary Noguera, Class of 2000), and Anthony Javier led the singing of the Alma Mater. Then the assembled honorees and their friends and families adjourned to partake of the tasty refreshments provided by the Math Club parents.

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