For the ninth time in 10 years, a public school student in Alachua County has been named a semi-finalist in the US Presidential Scholars Program, one of the most selective and prestigious recognition programs for high school students.
Aarti Kalamangalam, a senior at Eastside High School, is one of the country’s 625 semi-finalists. She was invited to apply for the program on the basis of her college entrance examination results. She then had to go through a rigorous application process, submitting essays, self-assessments, details about her extracurricular activities and transcripts.
“My first reaction was that they must have made a mistake,” Kalamangalam said. “But I also feel honored to represent both my school and my city.”
Kalamangalam has a complete and impressive CV. In addition to her success in Eastside’s International Baccalaureate program, she is also involved in a wide range of after-school programs, often in a leadership role. For example, she has organized community projects through the Key Club, a service organization, and is one of the facilitators at the school’s Coding Club. She is also the co-director of a statewide nonprofit organization called SciTeens, which aims to help the underrepresented succeed in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) subjects. She is currently developing a course in physics and data science.
But one of Kalamangalam’s favorite activities is working with Teen Trendsetters, a district-wide program that pairs high school students with elementary-age children who need help in school. She also gives private lessons to students from Eastside.
“I have always been very attached to teaching,” Kalamangalam said. “I come from a long line of teachers, so I feel it’s in my blood. I really like the idea of uplifting people through education.
Kalamangalam is now eligible to be named US Presidential Fellow, one of 161 in the country. Three students from Alachua County Public Schools have been recognized as Presidential Fellows in the past 10 years, including 2020 Fellow Helena Jiang from Buchholz High School.
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The Buchholz high school math team recently won their 13th national championship in a record fashion.
Buchholz took top honors in the 2021 Mu Alpha Theta National Competition, which was held in person at each of the participating schools, with all schools competing at the same time. The Buchholz team won the championship with over 900 points, with 7,324 points. The second-place team, American Heritage Plantation, had 6,418 points. Previously, the biggest margin of victory was 459 points, also won by Buchholz in 2019.
The national competition consists of 39 different events, with teams earning points based on their performance in each event. Buchholz’s students took first place in 31 of 39 events, another competitive record.
Buchholz head coach Will Frazer, who has guided the math team since its first national championship in 2007, attributes the hard work of his students to their performances in the championship, especially during the pandemic. The 2020 competition has been canceled due to COVID.
“While everyone was squatting, our children continued to work hard and persevere,” he said. “We are already working on the coming year.
The national victory comes just three months after Buchholz’s side won their 14th state championship, also by a record margin.
Buchholz students won a total of 255 trophies and certificates in this year’s national competition. The first place rewards include:
Theta Division (Algebra 2 and Geometry)
Billy Yang – Circles and polygons
Hailey Lin – Area and volume
Richard feng – Applications
Billy Yang – Equations & Inequalities
Hailey Lin – Analytical geometry and conics
Individual Theta – Hailey Lin
Theta Team – Hailey Lin, Billy Yang, Richard Feng and Kailyn Zhai
Alpha Division (Pre-Calculus)
Daniel wang – Mathematics in Physics
Shea Tucker – Mavvtrices and vectors
Emmanuel Zheng -Trigonometry
Shea Tucker – Applications
Ahan Mishra – Equations & Inequalities
Daniel wang – Analytical geometry
Zach Xiao – Sequence & Series
Alpha Encryption – Ahan Mishra
Individual Alpha – Daniel wang
Alpha Team – Daniel Wang, Tucker Shea, Ahan Mishra and Zach Xiao
Mu division (calculation)
Samuel kim – BC calculation
Kevin He – Limits and derivatives
John sin – Mathematics in physics
Kevin He – Applications
Eric Jiang – Combinatorial & Probability
Sean Han – Complete
Jake Frazer and Samuel Kim – Integration (tie with perfect scores)
Sharay Gao – Surface area and volume
Sam antonian – Sequence & Series
Mu encryption – Jake frazer
Mu Individual – Kevin He
Mu Team – Kevin He, Sean Han, Nicholas Dang and Samuel Kim
Chris Han – History of mathematics
Jeremy Griffin – The theory of numbers