Kate Kotlyar staff writer
Nick Kay staff writer
Math and senior Bradley Moon intersected from a young age. For years, his life revolved around math, and it continues to.
Moon’s first math competition was in sixth grade with the Continental Mathematics League (CML). In eighth grade, he competed in the American Mathematics Competition 8 (AMC 8). Since then, he continued to compete in tests held by the Mathematics Association of America (MAA).
Eighth grade was a “formative” year for Moon because of his desire to pursue more math competitions, with the help of his former math teacher at Beverly Vista, Mark Frenn. Also, Moon’s “enthusiasm” in math and his positive attitude helped Frenn know that he was “doing something right” as he moves to retirement after this school year.
“Bradley will always have a very special place in my heart, there’s no question about it. Now… he will allow me to move on to the next stage of my career, knowing that, ‘Yep, it worked.’ As I have touched his future, he has also continued to touch mine,” Frenn said. “I will always remember that there was Bradley who basically said, ‘Mr. Frenn, you did it right.’”
Frenn had Moon in his math class for the 2016-17 school year. When Moon was in Frenn’s class, he was a “great student.” Moon was always a big “cheerleader” of Frenn’s class and the class’s activities–– during the class’s competition for Pi Day, Moon came in as the highest memorizer of Pi digits that year with 262 digits.
“He was one of the most positive kids, always smiling, always in a good mood which helps put me in a good mood and actually helps put the rest of the class in a good mood,” Frenn said. “He’s one of those kids who didn’t schlep into the room, he bounced into the room, and that was always really nice to see.”
After Moon took the AMC 8 in Frenn’s class, he began doing math outside the classroom “for fun” because he had the goal of doing well in the following years’ AMCs.
Last school year, Moon finished AP Calculus BC, the highest level math class offered at Beverly. So over the course of this school year, he’s been pursuing math courses at Santa Monica College (SMC). In the winter he took Ordinary Differential Equations at SMC.
Moon’s knowledge of math outside the high school curriculum helps him in competitions because the MAA tests include questions that one “wouldn’t typically learn in school.”
“A lot of [the competition math] is very logical thinking. It includes little tidbits here and there [like,] advanced geometry lemmas, proof writing, combinatorics and number theory–– things that you wouldn’t typically learn in school,” Moon said.
After taking the AMC, Moon qualified for the American International Mathematics Examination (AIME). If he scores high enough, Moon qualifies for the USA Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO).
“This year, I did really well on the AMC. So, I was very much expecting to make it to AIME. Last year, I was really borderline, so I was really ecstatic when I made it,” Moon said. “But my score this year is significantly higher than it was last year. So I would say this is the farthest I’ve ever come.
Overall, Moon finds math “satisfying” and he loves sharing the “enjoyment” he gets out of it with others.
“[Math] is honestly empowering because it makes you feel smart, it makes you feel like you have like this superpower,” Moon said. “It makes me feel special. It’s kind of the same thing as when you can play your instrument, you feel like you have this ability that’s so awesome.”