Getting Nerdy in New Jersey

Nicole Palazzo

Where can you find exciting science experiments, fun competitions, and puzzling math tests that don’t count for a grade? After school in some of our schools in the science and math related clubs of course! There are several clubs devoted to chemistry, algebra, and technology that are offered at JCHS and are populated by students of all grades and GPAs who all share a love for math and science. Some of these clubs are the Math Team, run by Mrs. DeLaura and Mrs. Miscia, and Chem Olympics, hosted by Mrs. Renzetti and Mr. Dubas.

Those who love challenging math problems go to Room 301 or 302 on

The nerds have a place to call home with these clubs
The nerds have a place to call home with these clubs

e Tuesday a month to take part in a math competition with the Math Team. At each meeting students sit for a 6 question test created by the New Jersey Mathematics League for 30 minutes. It doesn’t seem too hard until you check out the complexity of the problems. Still, the students try their best and score as high as they can using whatever math knowledge they have, whether it be one or four years of high school math. In the event that a competitor receives one of the highest scores in the state, they are eligible to win awards and prizes for their fine accomplishments.

Students like to join the Math Team to advance their math and thinking skills and hang out with friends who share the same interests as them. Sophomore Tina Janulis says that her favorite part is, “getting the answers back and seeing what I could have done better on,” as she works towards improvement. There are many groups of friends who attend meetings together and compare answers after the tests to see how they all did. It’s not all about being the smartest in the school; rather, it’s about trying your best and having fun with a bunch of friends.

Many aspiring chemists look forward to the annual Chem Olympics at NJIT and prepare weekly in Room 314 for the culminating events. Students sign up for various events that deal with demos, labs, memorizing nomenclature, calorimetry, and writing research or engineering papers. They prepare brief write-ups and flawless lab presentations that earn them high ranks with the judges when they compete in late May. Over the years our team has brought back some excellent awards and trophies for their fine successes in these events.

The scientists that work hard all have a fun time learning how to do labs and applying their knowledge to these realistic situations. They are all brought together by a love for chemistry according to Harjot Sidhu, a sophomore who is competing for the first time. A returning Olympian like junior Peter Shultz would agree and add that “we are all nerdy for sure” with little personality quirks and hostilities towards others. Most importantly, the skills learned and applied during these months of training help students to prepare for what a career and future in engineering or chemistry would be like.

The Math Team and Chem Olympics are two popular groups that are designed for  learning and having fun, solving challenging problems and testing out lab experiments. It is a great place for people to release their inner nerd. And the best part of it all? The grades don’t show up on your report card.