A Brief History of the Wentzville High School Math Team

I have been very fortunate and grateful to have had an opportunity to work with some young people who demonstrated great enthusiasm toward an intellectual endeavor. Their dedication to the pursuit of academic excellence was a tremendous incentive for my professional life. Many students who worked closely with me realized that they were participating in a unique chapter in the history of Wentzville High School.

We saw some bright students who coasted through high school without been academically challenged and they have not heard of the National Merit Scholars. In an attempt to challenge them academically, I created the Medicine Man's Club so that members can strive to qualify for national merit scholarships. We met once a week and worked on verbal and math problems. This was primarily an in-house workout. We needed to go outside to find out how we stack up against students from other schools.

What started in 1975 as a trip to Kirksville to take a test developed into a full-fledged math team. By 1977, the team was involved in nine math contests a year, winning most of them. By 1979, Wentzville could legitimately claim the state championship. The activity continued to increase through 1981 when the team competed in 16 contests and ranked among the best in the country by virtue of determination, hard work, enthusiasm, and sheer performance. In 1982, Wentzville mathletes hosted the Mu Alpha Theta national convention which received recognition as the best convention ever hosted by high school students.

The short era of the Wentzville Math Team dynasty came to an abrupt end at the close of the 1982 season and the team remained painfully dormant for the next three years. However, with the support of the community, parents, and interested students, the math team reemerged, like the legendary phoenix, from the ashes of inactivity to meet the challenge of trials and tribulations of mathematical competitions.

It is not easy to recapture the former glory of the math team, and to surpass the past accomplishments may be more than a Herculean task. Yet our new mathletes were ready to take on the challenge and would transmit the proud heritage and tradition of excellence to the future members of the team.

We hope to establish the extraordinary bond among past and present mathletes at Wentzville by experiencing the special feeling of intellectual camaraderie which can only be gained through blood, sweat, and tears of hard toil. We know our dreams and aspirations can only be achieved by determination to excel. As a reward for dedicated effort, any of the past mathletes are thriving today in their professional careers and demonstrate their asset to society.

The mathletes from Wentzville will undoubtedly leave some indelible marks on the history of their chosen professions. Longfellow once said, "We can make our lives sublime and leave behind us footprints on the sands of time." I expect our mathletes to set good examples for others to follow.

The end of a unique era for the Wentzville Math Team is approaching, but we have "miles to travel and promises to keep". We traveled to many far away sites (California, Wisconsin, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Washington, Kansas, Illinois, Tennessee, etc) for competitions and we enjoyed fellowship while we kept on trucking. Let us aspire to inspire each other in pursuit of excellence through mathematical competitions. Some day in the distant future all of us will recall with fond memories some wonderful and exciting moments we shared together.

Akehiko Takahashi

This site last updated December 8, 2004.