History of FAMAT and Mathematics Competitions in Florida

This article was taken from the FAMATCGRAPH.

In the spring of 1976, the Mu Alpha Theta chapter at Lake City High School, Lake City, hosted the first Florida Mu Alpha Theta convention. The chapter's sponsor was Patte Casey. The activities of the conference included competitions in games such as Score Four, Mastermind, Hex, Helix, Backgammon, etc. There were an unknown number of schools in attendance.

The students and sponsor, Rose Reeves, at Hillsborough High School, Tampa, decided to repeat the convention experience the next year, 1977, by having the second convention. Again Games competitions took place, as well as a team competition.

The third convention took place in 1978 at Miami Coral Park High School, Miami, hosted by JoAnne Taber (Coral Gables Senior High School), Mary Elizabeth Sullivan (Miami Senior High School), and Hector Hirigoyen (Miami Coral Park High School). The team competition between schools involved two schools at a time responding to timed questions. Winners of each match worked through the competition tree until the first through fourth place teams were identified. There were two team levels which became Alpha and Theta levels. The fourth competition was held in 1979 at Coral Springs High School (Barbara Nunn, sponsor). Besides the team and games competitions, the convention program included speakers, such as Zalmin Usiskin of the University of Chicago. A panel discussion on careers involving mathematics was also held.

The convention at Coral Springs was successful with over twenty-five schools in attendance. With the growth in the number of state Mu Alpha Theta chapters and conference attendees, it became obvious that there needed to be an organization to coordinate the state's Mu Alpha Theta activities.

Funds remaining from the Coral Springs High School Mu Alpha Theta convention were used to pay travel and housing expenses for a group to convene in May, 1979, to establish a Mu Alpha Theta state organization. At the Holiday Inn in Palm Beach Gardens the Florida Association of Mu Alpha Theta (FAMAT) was founded and a constitution was written by the following committee:

The first officers of FAMAT serving until 1983 were:

Also in the spring of 1979, the first invitational mathematics competition was held at Martin County High School under the direction of Fred Lundeen. This competition initiated the mathematics competitions in Florida. At each level, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Advanced Math, and Calculus, students participated in team and individual competitions. In the team competition the exact order of answer submission was noted. The Kiwanis Club of Stuart helped sponsor this competition.

In the next year, 1980, Martin County High School hosted a similar competition. Coral Springs High School hosted a competition like the one at Martin County High School for Broward County Algebra I and Geometry students led by sponsors Fran McCreary and Diane Riley.

In 1981 the Coral Springs High School competition grew into a state wide invitational in the areas of Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Advanced Math, Calculus, and Computers. Over the next few years competitions were held at North Miami Beach Senior High School (Helen Dostal), Riverdale High School, Ft. Myers High School (Ron Davis), Port Charlotte High School (Shirley Holm), Ft. Pierce Westwood High School (Christine Rodic), Palm Beach Gardens High School (Mary Kilpatrick), Tampa's Berkeley Prep (Thom Morris), South Fork High School in Stuart, and Port Charlotte High School (Eileen Harris).

In 1984, while in Tallahassee to serve on a Department of Education (DOE) committee, Ron Davis and Barbara Nunn were able to meet with Doug Crawford, DOE director of high schools. Renee Henry made the meeting possible. The purpose of this meeting was to seek DOE financial support to transport the mathematics competition concept, so widespread in South Florida, to the rest of the state. A $5000.00 grant was given by the DOE and, under the direction of Ron Davis, regional competitions were held in all five region of Florida in 1985. The grant moneys were used to send a team of experienced competition sponsors to work with those at the site of the new competitions. Three competitions were held as a direct result of the grant.

In August 1986, the National Mu Alpha Theta convention was held on the campus of the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida. The co-chairpersons were Helen Dostal (North Miami Beach Senior High School) and Fran McCreary (Coral Springs High School). The success of this conference was through the cooperative efforts of the FAMAT students and sponsors.

In August, 1989, the National Mu Alpha Theta convention was held again in Florida at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Tampa, Florida. The co-chairpersons were Dave Steele (Plant City High School), Thom Morris (Berkeley Prep), and Ron Carroll, (King High School).

In August, 1992, the National Mu Alpha Theta convention was again hosted by a Florida school. This time however, the chairman, Thom Morris of Berkeley Prep, arranged to have the convention at Princeton University in New Jersey.

The 1996 National Mu Alpha Theta convention was hosted by three Florida Schools. The co-chairmen, Frank Caballero of Miami Sunset Senior High School, A. Samuel Koski of Miami Springs Senior High School, and Robert L. Lundblad of Miami Killian Senior High School, hosted the convention on the campus of the University of Central Florida in the greater Orlando area.

Since 1989, the FAMAT board has assumed the duties of hosting the state convention. The convention site was moved at that time to Grenelefe Resort and Convention Center just outside Haines City, Florida. Through a cooperative effort of the board and school Mu Alpha Theta sponsors, the state convention has continued to grow. At the 1995 convention there were 1203 students and 152 sponsors (1355 total) from 62 schools in attendance. Future conventions Grenelefe site have tentatively been set to the following dates:

Annually there are three regional and two-to-four invitational mathematics competitions held around the state. During the 1985 competition year over 12,000 students competed in these competitions. In the 1994-1995 school year FAMAT had 139 member schools representing 5365 students.

FAMAT since its inception has strived to bring the enthusiasm, interest, and appreciation of mathematics to the students of Florida. The torch is carried and passed by the FAMAT sponsors and officers.

FAMAT State Convention Winning Schools

1981Plant CityRiverdale
1983RiverdalePlant City
1984RiverdaleMiami Killian
1985North Miami BeachMiami KillianCoral Springs
1986Miami SunsetPalm Beach GardensPlant City
1987Palm Beach GardensKingKing
1988KingNorth Miami BeachCoral SpringsCoral Springs
1989Coral SpringsCoral SpringsCoral SpringsBerkeley Prep
1990Coral SpringsCoral SpringsBloomingdalePlant City
1991Cypress LakeNorth Miami BeachPlant CityBloomingdale
1992Cypress LakeGaitherBloomingdaleCypress Lake
1993Cypress LakeCypress LakeCypress LakeStoneman Douglas
1994Stoneman DouglasBerkeley PrepStoneman DouglasStoneman Douglas
1995Stoneman DouglasStoneman DouglasHillsboroughStoneman Douglas
1996Stoneman DouglasNovaStoneman DouglasVero Beach
1997Stoneman DouglasDr. PhillipsStoneman DouglasVero Beach
1998J. P. TaravellaStoneman DouglasVero BeachVero Beach
1999Stoneman DouglasVero BeachVero BeachStoneman Douglas
2000Stoneman DouglasVero BeachStoneman DouglasStoneman Douglas

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