The Record

SPOTLIGHT: ALEXIA GILIOLI (11)

Daily whiteboard comics spark math class debates

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GOING ON A TANGENT:
Alexia Gilioli (11) draws January 25's comic.

GOING ON A TANGENT: Alexia Gilioli (11) draws January 25's comic.

Mieu Imai/Staff Photographer

Mieu Imai/Staff Photographer

GOING ON A TANGENT: Alexia Gilioli (11) draws January 25's comic.

Becca Siegel and Mayanka Dhingra

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On November 8, 2017, a legend was born in math teacher Meghan Fergusson’s C period Precalculus BC Honors (PCBCH) when Alexia Gilioli (11) began the beloved 138T cartoon series.
Gilioli muses during tea time every morning in preparation for her creations, taking the occasional suggestion from her peers, Dana Jacoby (11) said.
Every class day, four or five drawings come together to compose a darkly ironic plot, Claire Yoo (11) said.
“She is able to convey a full plot with a simple arrowed diagram, and I find it really impressive,” Fergusson said.
The cartoons draw inspiration from various subject matter and every now and then are topical to the class, Saif Moolji (12) said. For example, when they had a math assessment, the cartoon exhibited the outlaw of tests, he said.
“There is a really distinctive style about her work, but she is always trying out new things to grow as an artist,” Zoe Vogelsang (12) said. “For the rest of us it’s really exciting to witness what will come next from the mysterious artist.”
“It really unifies us as a group of people,” Yoo said.
What the C period class does not realize is how large of a group Gilioli is actually uniting. What started off as a “fun distraction from the stresses of her junior year,” since she conveniently sits “right next to the whiteboard,” Gilioli said, became a mechanism of pre-lesson catharsis for the other math classes in 138T as well: Fergusson’s E and H period AP Calculus Honors and math teacher Catherine Crowley’s F period PCBCH.
The cartoons have become a tradition, Jacoby and F period PCBCH student Hannah Long (11) said.
“It’s something that I really look forward to in my day,” Long said.
Gilioli was initially unaware that other math classes interpret her work, Gilioli said. Fergusson informed her about her E period’s fascination with the masterpieces a week after she began illustrating them, she said.
Fergusson stands in full support of Gilioli’s work, Fergusson said. Discussing the cartoons is a great way to connect with her students before doing any math, she said. The best part is that everyone in her classes sees something unique in the comics and interprets them in a different way, Fergusson said.
“The cartoons send us on a tangent for a good ten minutes of class every day, dissecting what the comic of the day is and what we think it means,” Caroline Kaplan (11), a student in Fergusson’s C-period class, said.
The cartoons became so well known that conflict became inevitable: Fergusson’s C period PCBCH and E period AP Calculus Honors have created competing Instagram accounts that document the daily creations.
@138thedailycomic is run by Yoo, whereas the rival account, @138tthedailycomic, is run by Aman Sanger (12).
While Yoo wanted to share the joy that she and her classmates feel at the beginning of each math class, she said, Sanger was compelled to start the competing account in attempt to rectify the other class’ username’s lack of the “T” in “138T,” he said.
As for artist Gliloli’s take on the matter, “I think Claire’s account is better,” she said.

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SPOTLIGHT: ALEXIA GILIOLI (11)