Varsity Math has become a brand unto itself and brands have to be managed. You have to keep them in the public eye. The hardest part for us is that 99% of the members graduate. This year we had 0 returning students. For 2018-19 there will be 3. Summer Camp has served as a great on boarding tool, bringing kids into the program in a fun way and hopefully making them that much more excited for the start of the school year. But what about during the school year? How do you get all the kids who didn't go to summer camp and who might only vaguely remember seeing goofy dorks with t-shirts running around?
Promote the crap out of it. Collecting money and generating merchandise takes some time, but once it all arrives I like to have a Nerd Day. A couple weeks ago was the 2017 edition. All the AP kids wear their shirts and patches and stickers on the same day. It gets people talking when ~100 kids not on a sports team all dress alike. At the kids' request I diversified the merchandise and added custom sunglasses:
And in what is by far the goofiest stunt I've heard of, a bunch of them had a parade of sorts at lunch. I was clueless it happened until after the fact when 10 or so kids ran to my room to tell me what they did. It was pretty simple, they did a lap of the cafeteria, sung a poor unsuspecting kid happy birthday and took a group photo:
The contingent that eats lunch earlier in the day was sorely upset that they missed out.
Recognizing that this is the future and something doesn't happen unless it gets recorded on social media, I bought a Snapchat filter for the day. It was geofenced to the classroom and cafeteria sections of the school and I told kids to post, post, post. They did not disappoint:
And the stats were pretty impressive:
I collected as many of them as I could and assembled a giant collage for posting out on the Hall of Fame (2 of 9 pages shown):
The parade was a little silly and over the top, but a sign of how much fun the kids were having. And were you to hang out in my room, you'd find that "over the top" is kind of the status quo anyway. To have the kids in AP math excited to be a part of it is one thing, but the fact that we can generate buzz around the school at large is so awesome. AP math as the cool kids club, who knew?