Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Antioch math fair brings new life to the subject


Antioch Community High School, in Chicago’s far-north suburbs, was opened in 1915, but the school and its students continue to breathe life into the subject of mathematics for future students, Sequoit Media reports.

A December math fair at the school gave fourth through sixth graders in the K-8 feeder districts a chance to practice their math skills by playing a variety of math games—all of which were created by Antioch students, Drew Smith and Josh May report for the student media outlet.

“My favorite part of the math fair is actually to see how much fun the young kids have—the third, fourth, and fifth graders—and see how excited they get about it,” the video showed Christopher Stanich, the head coordinator for the math fair, as saying. “It’s always refreshing every year to see how happy they are and how much fun they have.”

One student, who had to develop fun projects for the fair and then teach young students how to score points to win the math games, told Sequoit Media that having younger siblings helped with the communication side of the fair.

“I was working with people I didn’t really know, but we were able to overcome that,” student Terry Salecki was shown saying. “It may take a little bit of explanation, but after they take some time to think about it, they understand what’s going on.”

The high school is in Community High School District 117, which also includes Lakes Community High School in Lake Villa. Antioch serves about 1,340 students.

“ACHS is a place that really emphasizes relationship building, a process that I think is tremendously important in education,” says Timothy Hildner, also a math teacher at Antioch. “Being a part of this experience through the years with students, staff, and parents has truly been a source of inspiration and pleasure that will always stay with me. This is one of the many reasons I consider myself very fortunate to be a part of the Sequoit family.”

The word ‘Sequoit’ has been the nickname for the school’s teams since its founding, but the history of the word is a bit clouded, according to the school’s website.

In a 2014 article entitled What’s a Sequoit?, Sequoit Media says the word is an altered spelling of the Iroquois Indian word Sa-da-quoit, which means ‘smooth pebbles in the bed of a stream.’ The name was given to a stream in Oneida County, New York, from whence Antioch’s first white settlers came. Because a creek that flows through the village reminded them of a stream in their New York home, they named the creek Sauquoit Creek.

A story in the local News-Sun dating from 2003, however, says the word actually means “winding.” In what language? The article, citing the school’s website in 2003 and a local historian, doesn’t say.

But the name Sequoit, like the study of mathematics in high school, lives on. No one is talking about any apparent plans to change it—or to make it any more explainable than it already is.

“It was pretty easy working with little children,” Mr Salecki said. “A lot of the kids that come through here are very easy going.”

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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