"Let a = 42, b = 60 and m be the least common multiple of a and b. Find the greatest common factor of m and a+ b."

This problem was one of the hardest that students had to solve last week when Amity Senior High School hosted a math meet for teams from 15 New Haven area schools, including public, private and magnet highs. Students from Cheshire, Hamden, Sheehan, Laurelton Hall, Choate, Hopkins, The Sound School, and the Woodlands School were among the participants joining the members of the Amity Team for the competition.

Each round consisted of four problems with the level of difficulty increasing from the first one to the fourth. A hushed undertone prevailed as the students, grouped around tables in the usually noisy cafeteria, pored over the problems.

Faculty Advisor Scott DeMeo, in his first year with the Amity faculty math department, said that Captain Nathan Perelman does most of the work for the team, organizing the weekly practices. "I'm just a glorified chaperone," DiMeo said.

The team has attracted more members than the competition rules allow, so the students hold run-offs to assign places on the two teams of five. Perelman said that in his first year with the team, "I had to fight for the sophomore spot." His competitor was current teammate, Jiang Zhiang.

"My dad is a physicist," Zhiang said. "I learned math, like 1+1=2, before I learned to read. I'm proud to be a member of this team."

JZ, as Zhiang is known, moved to this country from China only 10 years ago, and hopes to attend Columbia University next year with a career goal of international business and banking.

Several of the seniors completed the school's calculus course prior to this year, and are not enrolled in any math class at this time.

"I wanted to take multivariate analysis at Yale," Zhiang said, " but my study hall is third period and there isn't time enough for the commute."

Junior Sha Yan is not a competing member of the team, but attends the meets when she can and works on the problems for practice. She, too, had already completed a calculus course and was enrolled in a linear math class at SCSU fall semester, so she didn't have the time to participate in all the math team activities. Her enthusiasm for the challenge of the problems at the meet was, however, still strong.

Math skills are not the only forte of these teenagers. Junior Lauren Wiznea is Features Editor of The Trident, the school newspaper, and Yan, an honors level art student, is on the debate team. Perelman is one of two students who qualified for a network administrator certificate from the Cisco Corporation after completing the two-year Cisco Academy Networking Course and sitting for the additional company exam.

The Amity A level team, Nathan Perelman (Captain), Chester Li, Jiang Zhiang, Lauren Wiznia, and Jen Wu placed third, behind Choate and Hopkins in the team competition. In the individual competitions, Wiznia, with only one question wrong, had the highest Amity score, placing 15.

Members of the B team, Jonathan Bell, Daniel Cuzzocero, Danny Perlman, Justin Schwartz, and Tony Zhang put in a solid performance although they were not ranked for place.