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The formula for success

What once began as a small group of students that met in the 300 pod three times a week, has transformed into Greenhill’s largest club, with over 90 members present at meetings.

Math Club, which now takes place in the lecture hall and fills more than once a week with students carrying scratch paper and pencils, ready to answer whatever problem flashes across the screen next.

Math Club is not alone in their strong membership. Business Club also brings a large group of people to Upper School Math teacher Darryn Sandler’s room every B-day. Rather than solving numbers and word problems, the students are dealing with real money like they would be in the real business world.

With the shortened break period three years ago, other club participation began dropping, yet these two clubs continue to see immense participation within the student body. These two clubs meet when all others do, during lunch, yet their popularity remains strong.

According to Business Club co-president senior Alex Rose, the club’s high turnout may be attributed to the real-life impacts of the work they do in the club. The students in Business Club work with real money that they deal with it much like they would in the real business world.

In 2013, Business Club was given $100,000 to invest where they decided. Today, they have $140,000. Each club rotation, they meet to discuss stock market news, where to invest their money next and financial history. The club has appointed sector leaders who decide on investing in different companies or selling stocks that the club holds in companies already. Even though all the club decisions must go through the Board of Trustees and the chief financial officer, it is the students who make the decisions about where the money will go.

“It’s real money and real-life scenarios. Not nearly as many people would show up if we used a fake portfolio. When the investments grow, the students have the right to feel proud because it was their decision making that allowed it to do so,” Alex said.

Many of the club members expect to pursue business as a profession, which is another reason for the popularity: it’s applicable to their futures.

“Greenhill gives us an amazing opportunity to manage real money and invest it, as I hope to do when I’m older,” junior Barrett Russ said. Barrett leads the technology sector of the club.

“Mr. Sandler, our sponsor, has a business degree from Georgetown, so he really knows what he’s doing and makes it very real,” Alex said.

Although Business Club is still one of the leading clubs in terms of numbers, the presidents confirmed that their numbers have dropped as a result of the schedule change.

Math Club has taken a different approach to attracting and attaining club members. The club has almost 100 people on the email list and at least 30 attending each competition.

The competitions are held twice a week when the Greenhill Team competes against other schools. There are bigger tournaments, such as Math Madness, where Greenhill can compete with schools across the nation online and advance through up to 128 rounds. There are also smaller competitions when the students split into smaller groups and work together.

Part of the appeal with this club is that students can earn a quantum bump on one test per trimester by competing in a certain number of math competitions and attending meetings.

To receive the extra credit that the club promises, a student must receive 15 points. They receive three for showing up to a competition and answering a question right. Once a student reaches 15 points, they can bump one test in the trimester up by one quantum.

The first time sophomore Divya Inaganti attended a competition, she was going for the quantum bump. While it may have brought her there, she said it ultimately wasn’t what made her stay.

“I’m a competitive person, and so once I’m there I get very into it and want to win,” Divya said.

The first time she attended, Divya was given the chance to answer the last question which if answered correctly would keep her team in the competition. She answered correctly, and her team got enough extra credit questions correctly to win the competition.

“It really feels like a sport sometimes. The teamwork in the club is excellent and you feel really supported,” Divya said.

Senior Rishi Vas said that the community aspect of the club is special, adding that the club’s sponsor, Upper School Math teacher Dr. Youssef Oumanar, ties it all together perfectly. Rishi has also stayed not for the quantum bump, but other aspects as well.

“When there are group competitions, my friends and I will get together to compete, it’s just fun,” Rishi said.

When asked what kept him coming, instead of saying the extra points he, like Divya, said it was the group aspect of the club.

“It also helps my skills for actual math class,” said Divya.

Photo by Rylyn Koger

Originally published in the December 2017 print issue

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