The Rise and Fall of a Singular Nation: A History of the Kingdom of 109


Photo by Andrea Duggan

Mr. Huang, math teacher and King of the Kingdom of 109, surveys his kingdom as he prepares to leave for good.

The Kingdom of 109 is a prosperous community of mathematicians dedicated to preserving traditional mathematics. The king of this Kingdom is math teacher Eugene Huang who teaches both Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 to his citizens. His kingdom, over the years, has been an homage to many math champions, unique talents, and citizens enchanted with the significance of mathematics. 

A Kingdom is Born

In the first week of May 2023, Mr. Huang made history. The beloved Monarch of 109 announced the dissolution of the Kingdom of 109 effective at 12:30 pm on June 16, 2023, the last day of school. This marks the end of a prosperous Kingdom that has protected the land of Longfellow for 20 years. 

The beginning of 109 started when Mr. Huang was granted land from the Powers-That-Be. Arriving on the beaches on the back of two turtles, Mr.Huang planted the Staff of Gandalf, thereby declaring a full monarchy of the Kingdom of 109.

The Wars for Tieland

Perhaps the most famous incident in 109’s history started in 2008 when they allied with the newly incorporated country of Tieland. Not long after their alliance was signed, Tieland’s president, Mr. Cheney, was captured by the dark forces known as Morris and Calamito. 

Using a magic mirror ball, Morris and Calamito hypnotized the young citizens of Tieland and made them their slaves. The Kingdom of 109 came to the rescue, freeing President  Cheney.  

What happened next is possibly the most amazing part of 109’s history. Mr. Huang delivered a rousing speech, captured on film, invigorating his citizens before leading the army of 109 to battle the Tieland zombies and liberate their country. 

The speech is the origin of 109’s motto, “We are not small potatoes.”  To this day, one of the most devastating insults a citizen can deploy is to call another citizen a small potato.  

The One Donut

The presence of the One True Donut, the source of Longfellow’s power, was first detected in the Kingdom of 109. It’s power proved too much temptation for evildoers, and it is now buried beneath the field for safekeeping.

Though things seemed peaceful after that, the discovery of the One Donut hidden in the Kingdom of 109 began a new saga in their history. As mysterious events happened throughout the year, Huang made the mistake of trusting Calamito, who he thought was reformed,  and as a result, Calamito escaped with the One Donut, the source of Longfellow’s power.

Then came a dark time in 109’s history.  Their beloved leader left the kingdom in search of Calamito, now known as Dr. Donut and the One Donut. Some citizens of 109 felt that Mr.Huang should have taken care of his new citizens, instead of chasing Calamito, now known as Dr. Donut, around the globe. However, Mr.Huang knew that while Calamito was alive, and had the one donut, no one was safe. 

Finally, Mr. Huang assembled his Commando Unit and traveled to confront Dr. Donut in a small forest located locally in Burke, VA. After a chase through the woods, the One Donut was recovered. 

However, just when all appeared well, Dr.Donut’s accomplice ambushed The Kingdom of 109, stealing the powerful artifact for himself.  However, neither Calamito nor his accomplice, Mr. Georgia, could handle the power of the One Donut.  They soon began fighting in an attempt to seize the power for themselves.  In the confusion, Mr.Huang caught up with them where they were fighting on the field of construction during Longfellow’s renovation.  While the two villains were wrestling, Mr. Huang seized the all-powerful object, heaving it from the top of a mountain of dirt to the construction site below, where it was buried. 

Mr. Huang himself considers this a big achievement as the power of the One Donut was too much temptation for evil powers.  The artifact remains buried beneath the field where 109 Ally, the Starship Inquiry under Captain Duggan, continues to scan the area and monitor for evidence of its return.   

Mr. Huang declared that Calamito was gone forever.


An artifact from the original Kingdom of 109 location, where names of citizens were written on the walls before Longfellow’s remodel.

Shortly after this victory, however, devastating news arrived in the Kingdom of 109 as the Powers-that-be revealed the plans for the new building, already under construction. The original room 109 would no longer exist.   Citizens were shocked when Mr. Huang announced the new changes. Mr. Huang, in honor of the citizens, wrote every single name of the students on the wall.

After this announcement, Huang began the long process of documenting their history.  During the summer of 2010, a group of people that Mr. Huang describes as “Longfellow Workers” discovered an artifact from the field where the One Donut was buried. This artifact contained three written lines. “Not small potatoes, Not small potatoes, we are not small potatoes.” These three lines were quickly set to music to become the National Anthem of the Kingdom of 109. It is sung after a new flagmaster and datemaster are elected, and at the beginning of the year.

Even though the Kingdom was moving, Mr. Huang said, “…we will keep our name. We will keep our honor…the story goes on.”

On February 11, 2011, all citizens of the Kingdom of 109 were moved to a temporary shelter known as Villa 52. During the stay in the Villas, it was a tough time. Bathrooms were hard to access and they were subject to brutal weather fluctuations.  The Kingdom of 109 still lived on in each one of the citizen’s hearts, and they all stayed together during this tough time. 

During this time, a production company was founded called “Mango Productions.” Its first production would be the documentary “Mangos and Large Potatoes,” a 50-minute film featuring many interviews with past students. Much history was packed tightly in this documentary and it was invaluable in writing this history. 

Once the renovations were complete, Mr. Huang found a new location suitable for the Kingdom in the new room 209. But, even after he was offered the option to name the new room 109, he declined.  

”To call another place 109 would be sacrilegious. There was only one 109, and the PTB took it.” 

Assassination Attempts and the 109 Legal System

Ever since the beginning of 109, citizens have sometimes vocally expressed a desire for more rights, representation, and equality. 

While interscholastic affairs have taken center stage, there has also been some strife within the kingdom itself. In the first two years of 109, two assassination attempts were made. The first attempt was by a Citizen who believed that Mr. Huang was assigning an excessive amount of homework. Maryam Kanna stuck out her foot, tripping Mr. Huang. He landed flat on his face, causing minor injuries, but survived the attack. Kanna was immediately charged, but a student named Chris Pauliukonis saved her by saying that she did not mean to trip the king.

The second assassination attempt was made by student Timo Sheridan. Sheridan admitted to using a pencil rubber band launcher in her assassination attempt. He was later proven guilty but was not sentenced.

At one point, a student named Hannah Champness complained about the dirty quiz and test folders, which were over eight years old at the time. Mr. Huang simply taped the folder to make it more sturdy.

In the spring of 2017, Mr. Huang decided to revise the constitution of 109, since there were too many loopholes. Some citizens took advantage of the rules of 109, which were purposely left vague. Alyssa Gorbaneva was chosen to be the first Attorney General, a job used to create and enforce rules.

A textbook tax was set by Mr. Huang, which was 10 cents, because of the high demand and low supply of the books. After a while, little to no people used the textbooks, because they cost money. A student realized that this tax violated one of the rules of 109, and Mr. Huang was sentenced to a week in detention and was temporarily dethroned during this time.

The Great Darkness

On March 13, 2020, residents of 109 were told to stay at home. Mr. Huang instructed residents to dig out the mango trees, as the darkness had brought minimal sunlight, and the trees could not survive.. Food and water were rationed and brought to citizens during this time.. 

Mr. Huang issued a message in the 109 Times,  “We are faced with the Dark Cloud, a Fourth Darkness, a supposedly alien force that literally hovers over us, putting us in a perpetual state of uneasiness and fear.”

Due to the darkness, many citizens did not get to meet Mr. Huang in person as they had to stick to online learning during this time. They were called the “lost generation.”

In early May we received shocking news from the Kingdom of 109. Mr. Huang, the beloved king of 109 announced that he will be leaving Longfellow to go to teach at a private school. All his 20 years of students will always remember him. His long journey from a student to a beloved teacher of Longfellow will be important to us. The legacy of the prosperous kingdom he has created will live in the hearts of all the students, teachers, and parents he has met here.