Today I went with my colleague and pal Liz and eight students to the Kings County (Brooklyn, baby!) Chapter MATHCOUNTS competition. I’ve gone on this trip a number of times now—I’d have to pull out pencil and paper to recall them all—and so the afternoon was charming for its new twists on familiar themes: the bustling train ride, the gelling of the kids over the course of the afternoon, eating chips and quietly playing dots & boxes while the kids did the Sprint Round, seeing the coaches from the other schools, and the flurry of activity in the scorers’ room.
Our teams have sometimes been exclusively boys, so it was great to have three girls in our ranks. For such a young team—just one eighth grader and one seventh grader and six sixth graders—they did really well, just missing out on the third slot that gets to move on to State.
But don’t you worry—we still picked up some traditional “victory” donuts on the way home. And then while we waited for the last kids to be picked up, we visited with them about topics ranging from Halley’s Comet to the etymology of “totes magotes” to our first experiences when someone we knew died.
I’ve long—or maybe always—been the “lead” chaperone on this trip, but Liz as contest coordinator is in charge of it now. So this time I just got to go along for the ride. It was nice to have a chance to have the experience a bit more freely and maybe reflectively. Anyway, it was a pretty great way to spend an afternoon.