Hailey Puglia enjoys what most people don’t: math


Edena Ichel, Mirada Staff

Approximately 150,00 high school students across the nation take AP Calculus AB before 11th grade, and within this group is junior Hailey Puglia. Although taking this college-level math class in high school is impressive on its own, Puglia went above and beyond and completed the class freshman year. 

From there, sophomore year consisted of Calculus BC and now, in just the first semester of junior year, she takes both AP Statistics at UC Scout and Calculus III at American River College. At such a high level of math this early on, it’s easy to wonder how Puglia got to where she is now.

“It started in seventh grade at Sierra Oaks,” said Puglia, “when my teacher decided to move me up to IM1 after being in accelerated seventh-grade math.” 

Her excel in the subject only continued from there and the following year, she took IM2+ at Rio while simultaneously receiving notes and homework from the teacher for IM3 and IM3+.

Besides the start of more advanced classes, middle school was also when Puglia found an alternative space to practice her love of math: Mathletes. In eighth grade, she participated in the club meetings and took a strong liking to it. 

When she came to Rio for freshman year, she jumped at the opportunity to become the club vice president, and then continued on with serving as co-president and president the subsequent years. Even with all her accomplishments, she still faced challenges along her journey. 

“During the pandemic and online school, Mathletes was much more difficult because it was harder to collaborate and talk together on problems,” said Puglia. “I feel like a big part of the club is the social aspect of being with others and communicating, which was limited last year.” 

Back at school this year, Puglia has a lot to balance with two college-level math classes and the role as president of the Mathletes Club. This is on top of her everyday school schedule that already consists of three AP classes, Honors Concert Band which she plays the clarinet in, and a foreign language, not to mention outside hobbies such as school and club volleyball. 

“To balance school and out-of-school activities, I try to stay on top of my work and be productive when it comes to getting homework done,” said Puglia. I like to stay organized and make sure I know what I have to do and when I have to do it.” 

It’s not always easy to find an activity to stick with, but when it comes to something you have a passion for, it makes all the difference. 

“I really love math, which is why I have been able to take higher classes,” said Puglia. “It’s something I want to pursue in college and in a career, even if I don’t quite know what I want to do yet.”