First Posted: 3/14/2013
One might say this was “easy as pie.”
Students at Wyoming Area Catholic School in Exeter Thursday celebrated 3.14 — March 14 but also the mathematical equation of pi used to calculate the circumference and area of circles — with festivities and, of course, pie.
WAC has celebrated Pi Day for the past five years, but in 2010, math teacher for the school Eileen Rishcoff took the celebrations to the next level, making the day similar to a math bazaar. The school now celebrates with pie eating contests, pie relay races, pi tattoos and face painting, pi t-shirt decorating contests and much more. “The fact that we celebrate such a wonderful day makes the children all that much more curious about pi and how it is used,” she said. “It has helped in the classroom to make the learning and understanding more fun.”
Christopher Tigue, principal, said students look forward to the celebration throughout the semester. “They love Pi Day,” he said. “It allows them to be more actively engaged in the learning process of a rigorous subject.”
According to the students, it also makes applying the equation to their studies easier.
“With all the activities, you get to understand pi better than how the book describes it,” said 8th grader Marissa Moran.
Sarah Saltkowski, also in 8th grade, agreed with her classmate. “It’s easier because you get to learn about math with things you understand more.”
Marc Phillips, another 8th grader, went as far as to say that Pi Day made math one of his favorite subjects. “All the activities of learning about pi that our math teacher, Miss Rishcoff, came up with for us made me love pi, and love math,” he said.
Though the day is geared toward fun and learning, the project also has a more serious side. Maura Azzarelli, also a math teacher for WAC, said the Pi Day festivities help teach the students responsibility. Azzarelli posts 8th graders at every different activity to assist organizers. “Having an older student to help organize a bit builds leadership skills and maturity,” Azzarelli said, “both skills they are going to need for high school next year.”
Rishcoff was so excited by the success of her project at WAC that she proposed a Holy Redeemer system-wide Pi Day. About two hundred 6th grade students from Holy Redeemer High School, Holy Rosary, Wyoming Area Catholic, Good Shepherd Academy, St. Nick’s, St. Mary’s, St. Jude’s and Holy Family Academy participated in the first ever accumulative Pi Day celebration held at Holy Redeemer High School.
The schools shaped a committee with a representative from each school to organize the system-wide celebration. “This is the first year we’re doing this, and we want to see how it works with those numbers,” Tigue said. The committee hopes to expand the accumulative Pi Day celebration next year to encompass more grades.
Pi Day also stood as a reminder of the students’ Catholic faith as students were encouraged to bring in coins (as they are round objects) to benefit the St. Vincent DePaul Soup Kitchen. Festivities were brought to a close with the students posing to form a human pi symbol in the parking lot.