Fayetteville-Manlius math wizards compete on Pi Day

Dante Capriotti, grade 12, writes out the digits of pi in the preliminary written round of the digit memorization contest.

Dante Capriotti, grade 12, writes out the digits of pi in the preliminary written round of the digit memorization contest. Provided

— This month, the Fayetteville-Manlius High School math department sponsored several events in honor of “Pi Day.” Pi Day is celebrated by mathematicians around the world on March 14 because the date (3/14) approximates the digits of pi (π ≈ 3.14159…), the ratio of the circumference of any circle to its diameter.


From left to right: F-M teachers Dina Kushnir, Elaina Hajduk, Mary Ward and Chris Alvarez judge one of the preliminary rounds.

To build up excitement prior to the big day, the department sponsored a T-shirt design contest. Several students submitted entries that reflected the spirit of Pi Day and the proceeds from the shirt sales benefited Camp Good Days and Special Times. The winning T-shirt designers were Elaina Attallah and Leah Pilcher. These students each received a free T-shirt and the math department was able to donate almost $300 to Camp Good Days.

The “big event” on Pi Day was the options assembly, featuring a pi digit memorization contest, songs about pi, a Rubik’s Cube contest, and a student version of the popular game show “Family Feud.”

Students participating in the pi digit memorization contest were Allie Alcott, Colin Barber, Matt Belanger, Dante Capriotti, Jennifer Duppert, Sarah El-Amir, Austin Genther, Anna Hrbac, Hannah Kraus, Nick Licitra, Tina Liu, Jason Liu, Sharon Meguira, John Paliakkara, Adam Phipps-Swanson, JP Quinn, Joonyong Ree, Christie Rutledge, Todd Sharp and Chris Wang.

The winner of the first preliminary round was Hannah Kraus, who was able to write 459 digits of pi correctly in 3 minutes and 14 seconds with only 2 mistakes. The winner of the second preliminary round was JP Quinn, who wrote 455 digits of pi, also with two mistakes.

In the final round, JP and Hannah and went head-to-head in a verbal contest, taking turns saying one digit of pi until someone made a mistake. These two students recited 456 digits of pi before a mistake was made. Hannah Kraus was the Pi Digit champ! Her name will be engraved on a special Pi Day trophy, which will remain on display in the math wing. The top 10 participants were awarded Pi-themed pencils and gift certificates for free “pizza pi” donated by Mark's Pizzeria, Nice N Easy and Pizza Hut.

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