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The annual Moody’s Mega Math (M3) Challenge took place last weekend, and perhaps more than ever, culminated in an event that encouraged students to apply math to real-world situations. Since 2006, the M3 Challenge has been a prominent national contest that fosters student leadership, scholarship, problem solving, and teamwork. Created by the Moody’s Foundation as a way to inspire high school students to pursue careers in math and science, the M3 Challenge has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship prizes to contest winners annually. This year’s M3 Challenge charged high school students with the task of determining whether school lunches can be nutritious, delicious, and affordable, and asked them to use math to find an answer. According to the M3 Challenge Media Center, “This year’s competition topic stems from concerns surrounding childhood nutrition and obesity, which have been in the spotlight since First Lady Michelle Obama announced her health and wellness platform for children,” of the relevant topic. This past February, the White House and USDA announced school wellness standards in accordance with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, making the M3 Challenge topic more appropriate than ever. It’s commendable that the Moody’s Foundation not only challenged high school students to apply math to a relevant, real-life situation, but that the M3 Challenge also raised awareness about health and nutrition in schools in the process. Says Moody’s CEO Raymond McDaniel, “I don’t think enough is being done,” of the importance of fostering a love of math and science in young people, and why the Moody’s Foundation continues to up the ante with the M3 Challenge. Explains McDaniel, a strong proponent of corporate philanthropy, “The acknowledgement that we have challenges in the sciences and in math with our young people and with our educational system is really just the first step in the process. We have a lot to do to make sure that we are as competitively positioned in the global economy in the future as we have been in the past.” Learn more about the annual M3 Challenge and this year’s topic by visiting the Moody’s Foundation M3 Challenge page.