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Good, Better, Beta!

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Oviedo teen ranks third in the nation at a recent math competition.

Fourteen-year-old Dylan McCarthy of Oviedo has been quite impressive in math competitions over the past year. The most impressive, however, was at the National Beta Convention this past June.       

Dylan is a member of the National Beta Club, a leadership and educational organization for students in grades 4 through 12, and it’s in the club’s math contests that Dylan is dominating. Last November, as a seventh grader, Dylan won first place in the Math Division II contest at the Florida Beta Convention. That earned Dylan an invitation to the aforementioned National Beta Convention that was held in Savannah, Georgia.

The McCarthys made a family trip out of it, with Dylan’s parents – Michael and Vanessa – and his 11-year-old brother Connor and baby sister Devin joining him for the adventure. The family did some sightseeing, and then it was time for Dylan to get to work.

The Beta Club’s written math test is judged on accuracy and speed. When Dylan finished his exam, he darted up to the judges’ table in an attempt to shave every possible second off his time. There were so many different academic competitions happening at the convention, Dylan was forced to wait until the next day to see his results. It made for a nerve-wracking night.
“But it was a good kind of nervous,” says Michael, remembering his son’s excitement.

The wait paid off. When the results were posted, Dylan placed third in his division in the nation.

“We are very proud of Dylan, and we’re so happy he was able to be there, competing,” says Vanessa.

Part of an active-duty military family, Dylan moved to Florida two years ago and transferred into Stenstrom Elementary. There, his parents said, Dylan found great educators who truly fostered his progress in mathematics – a subject he already enjoyed.

“It comes naturally to me, I’ve always liked numbers,” Dylan shrugs. “I’ve just always had an easy time with it.” Though he’s humble enough to admit not every subject comes as naturally. “Fiction writing is not my forte,” laughs Dylan, confessing that language arts isn’t his favorite class.

His teachers at Stenstrom perfectly prepared Dylan for the preengineering magnet program at Milwee Middle School. The family specifically credits Stenstrom teachers Nicki Clausen-Grace, Katie Ortiz, and Debra Whalen for pushing Dylan, when necessary, to be his best.

The educators at Milwee picked up where the Stenstrom teachers left off.

“They helped me get where I needed to be to compete in the Beta competitions,” Dylan says.

He offers special kudos to Milwee math teachers Lynda Corlett and Amanda Fogel and STEM instructor Carol Unterreiner for her work with the Beta Club at Milwee.

Dylan enjoys subjects like algebra, as he likes the way the numbers translate into solutions. He’s also dipped his toe into geometry, and is set to take on an honors-level geometry II class as an eighth grader this school year.

Also a member of Boy Scout Troop 787 in Winter Springs, Dylan says his days of academic competition are not over. He looks forward to potentially competing in the Beta Club robotics contests, as well.

A successful career in engineering may very well be in Dylan’s future, and again the family is quick to credit Dylan’s teachers for his progress.

“The teachers are, hands-down, amazing,” says Vanessa, and Dylan agrees.

“They teach us skills for the workplace,” he says, skills that Dylan will no doubt put to good use.

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