WHITTIER – Pioneer High School students cheered loudly during a recent math competition that pitted Pioneer calculus students against Whittier College math majors, a contest that saw the high school math whizzes triumph over their collegiate peers.
The academic competition, dubbed the Derivative Bee, is now in its second year and was created by Dallas DeHart, a Whittier College senior and 2016 Pioneer High graduate. DeHart – who is the daughter of Pioneer math teacher and Whittier Union 2019-20 Teacher of the Year Carolina DeHart – is also president of the college’s math club.
“I think the Bee is a great way to bring the high school and college communities together,” DeHart said. “Whittier professors and Pioneer faculty helped come up with the questions. Everybody was really pumped up and cheering. You couldn’t ask for a better response.”
The event presented Pioneer and Whittier College students with several round of calculus equations on Nov. 22. Working individually, in pairs and as a team, the students were continually challenged with questions about limits, tangent lines and second derivatives.
“I was honored to see my Calculus AB and BC students work as a cohesive team and come out as winners,” Pioneer calculus teacher Yolanda Johnson said. “Credit must be given to our Jaime Escalante Summer Math Academy, which has put our kids in a position to both learn and excel in calculus at a rigorous college level. This is so great for Pioneer.”
DeHart returned to Pioneer to help light the Titan Torch with the 21 winning calculus students. She hopes that the Derivative Bee can continue after she has graduated from Whittier College.
“If I have to come back to bring them together, I will,” DeHart said. “Pioneer is my family.”