Wednesday, April 14, 2010

If you loved NYSML, this man is looking for you

Mr. Reuter, the NYSML President and leader of last Saturday's New York State championship math meet at UAlbany, wears many hats.

In his day job during the school year, he is a math teacher at Canandaigua Academy. During the summers, he is one of a select group of International Baccalaureate teachers who teaches in the Oxford Study Courses program for overseas pre-IB students hosted at Harvard and MIT. (His students in that program were the ones who made the hat shown in the picture above.)

He and his wife also have five children (including toddler twins!) and they are expecting their sixth child later this year. He wrote the NYSML Seasonal contest problems. He's writing a book.

Somehow he manages to keep his amazing sense of humor in the face of it all. His past and present students have created a Facebook fan page to collect some of the funny things he says. Here are a few of his bons mots:

Reuter: "I WILL get down to 6 pounds 11 ounces. I was there once and I'll be there again!"
Carissa: "You'll die first."
Reuter: "Are you wishing death upon me?!"

"During my exams you may become very religious, looking up to the heavens and down to your paper, but please not to the right or the left, it makes me nervous. Please separate your desks by a space wider than my hips, and remember, I’ve had three kids and two more are due this month. I’ll be around to answer your questions as you have them, and I would wish you good luck, but STUDYING WOULD HAVE BEEN FAR BETTER."

His ideas of fun things to do in his free time include wearing yet another hat as Head Coach of the Upstate NY ARML Team. Other coaches of the Upstate NY team include veteran high school math teachers (some of whom are retired but still love doing this--like Mrs. Ohlerich--yay for mathlady!) and college student coaches such as Albany Area Math Circle alumna Beth Schaffer (an MIT junior who has been co-director of the Harvard-MIT Math Tournament the past two years) and Albany Area Math Circle's very own charter member Tom Zink, now a software engineer in northern Virginia.

All these wonderful and dedicated folks can think of nothing they'd rather do in early June than volunteer their time to spend many hours riding chartered buses with dozens of math-loving students from Upstate NY to Penn State for ARML on the Thursday after Memorial Day, then help them prepare with a day long practice at Penn State on Friday, chaperone them at night in the Penn State dorms, then assist with the contest administration as graders and proctors on Saturday, then cheering them on and getting ice cream at the famous Penn State College of Agriculatural Science Creamery, the largest university creamery in the nation, then board the bus for the long ride home. Are we having fun yet? The coaches clearly are! It is clearly a labor of love for them. They come back year after year. And the students have a blast as well, making new mathy friends from all over Upstate.

Could this be the year that Upstate NY beats NYC? Who knows?

As Coach Reuter says, students from every league outside of New York City and Long Island are eligible to band together on the Upstate NY team and gang up on NYC and the rest of the teams from around the country. So the Upstate NY math team is an all All-Star team that will bring together the top students from Dutchess-Ulster-Sullivan-Orange County Math League, Monroe County, Ondondaga County, Rockland County, Westchester-Putnam County, and so on, as well as Albany Area Math Circle.

The format of ARML is just like NYSML, only the problems are somewhat harder, because it is a national/international competition that attracts teams from all over the country and the world. But it all started with NYSML. Other states wanted to participate in NYSML, so our New York state championship math meet (NYSML) became the model for the premier national high school championship math meet, American Regions Math League (ARML).

If you love the idea of spending three days working on really hard math problems (same format as NYSML but harder) with kindred spirits from across Upstate NY who share your passion, and making new mathy friends from all over, here is an application for the Upstate NY ARML team. Send it off to Mr. Reuter ASAP; the deadline is coming up on April 26, but sooner is better!

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