You may have heard of this before. There's a fun origin story. It was a popular presentation.

Like any idea I have, the second year takes it to higher places. Varsity Math is now an institution. I'm not saying the Wall Street Journal stole my idea, but the coincidence is funny.

A year ago I was making everything up as I went along. Now that we know what we're doing, I had a plan in place from Day 1. It was a little necessary too, as my current Calculus crew is VERY aware of all the shenanigans from last year and will not be denied.

Changes and Upgrades

First, I have invited Statistics to play along. Varsity Math is now a blanket term for anyone in an AP math class. The last thing I want is for stats enrollment to suffer over some t-shirts. Second, I'm running the thing like a legit organization: receipts, tracking charts, deposits, the whole thing. The scale (89 students) is too large to wing it. On the second day of school the kids had to report back what all Varsity Math meant.

LOTS of questions about what a $6 speech sounds like. Mostly after itemizing the merchandise it was much easier to charge $40 than $34. Also, it doesn't actually cost $10 to play laser tag, I'm cutting them a deal and the "speech fee" is there to make up the difference.

The t-shirts are from a local outfit. The stickers are Sticker Mule. The patches are from Patch Warehouse.

I spent a month collecting a LOT of money. Yesterday was merchandise distribution day:

The patches are the best. They are really well done and were really affordable ($1.77 each). There were several backings to choose from, and I went with an adhesive to allow for more mounting options. Allegedly they'll stick to a letter jacket but sewing them might be the safe thing.

Community, Stupid

All of this started as a way to combat apathy in our AP students. We were having high attrition rates. By giving ourselves an identity, we've made AP math a desirable destination. I have several kids willing to put the work in because it's such a good atmosphere. And even though I don't teach stats, I still know a lot of those kids (including 4 veterans who were 11th graders with me in Calculus last year), and they are pumped to be involved.

We aren't done here. Coming soon, you will hear all about how we're taking Varsity Math to future generations through some collaboration with our feeder middle schools.

And one last tease: have I thought about how some of you can get your own Varsity Math gear? Of course I have. Stay tuned...

AuthorJonathan Claydon