Four Shelton students get moody at St. Joseph High

This weekend two teams of five top St. Joseph High School student mathematicians will be getting Moody, including Shelton residents Matt Immerso, Sophia Ronga, Dylan Spagnuolo and Marina Spinelli.

They will be competing with nearly 6,000 other high school students from 29 states across the nation in the annual Moody’s Mega Math Challenge.

The M3 Challenge is entirely Internet-based and begins at 7 a.m. on Saturday. From then, the teams will have until 9 p.m. that evening, or 14 hours, to solve an open-ended, applied math-modeling problem focused on a real-world issue.

St. Joseph High School is a parochial college preparatory school in Trumbull.

Powerful problem-solving tool

The competition is designed to highlight applied mathematics as a powerful problem-solving tool, a viable and exciting profession, and a vital contributor to advances in an increasingly technical society, according to publicity material.

“Having our students participate in the Moody Math Challenge,” said St. Joseph Math Department Head Nancy Dennin, “offers them an opportunity to research and investigate a real-world situation. This opportunity is invaluable for their intellectual growth and learning to collaborate with each other and balance their strengths.”

For the students, the day will culminate in a 30-page “solution,” created as a group. A panel of nationally recognized, Ph.D.-level applied mathematicians will serve as judges in three rounds of judging.

The top six prize-winning teams will receive scholarship awards ranging from $2,500 to $20,000, to be divided equally among team members and paid directly to the colleges at which the winning students enroll. Other awards also will be given to additional high-scoring students.

‘Challenging academic endeavor’

“This,” said St. Joseph’s Moody moderator and staff member Attila Levai, “is a competition that at one level may be the most challenging academic endeavor the students have tried to date. However, the students tell me at the same time, it is the most satisfying.

“Writing a research paper, working with other students, meeting a short deadline; modeling an actual topic from our world, using math and mathematical reasoning, gives the student a great sense of accomplishment and pride,” Levai said. “The success for the team is the finishing of this task, even more than the possible winning outcome.”

Coaches and teams will be notified in April of the judging results. For more information on the M3 Challenge, visit