Summit Engineering, PLLC, a structural engineering consulting firm in Portsmouth, NH, recently sponsored a one-of-a-kind educational event in recognition of Pi Day.
Pi Day, which is typically recognized on March 14th, is a U.S. holiday. It is a celebration of mathematics as March 14 or 3/14 represents the first three numerical digits of Pi (3.14). [Pi is an irrational number and has a limitless number of digits after the decimal place.] Most people round Pi to 3.14.
Now in its second year, the special event drew numerous young participants and was featured on the front page of the local newspaper – The Portsmouth Herald. The publication also featured the event in a special photo gallery posted online.
The event was the brainchild of New Franklin Elementary School Principal George Shea, who in 2013 decided to hold a contest for students in grades 3-5 to see who could recite the most digits of Pi by memory.
The inaugural event featured students challenging each other to go far beyond their principal’s expectations. The winner last year, then 5th grader Rose Coviello, recited 88 digits of Pi by memory. Coviello’s incredible feat was also captured on video.
As the proud father of last year’s winner, Tony Coviello, co-owner of Summit Engineering, saw the impact that Shea’s challenge had on the student population.
“The big topic among the engineering community is getting more and more kids involved with STEM initiatives. Getting them to understand the importance of Science and Math at a young age. When I saw the excitement that this simple competition generated within the New Franklin community, I knew that this was an opportunity to do something,” said Coviello.
So, in an effort to make this year’s event that much more exciting, Coviello reached out to other local engineering, architecture, and banking businesses in Portsmouth.
“Several of them said they want to get involved with this,” said Coviello.
This year, Coviello and Shea decided to keep the event small at first with the idea to grow it to other schools in the future.
Each of the grade winners in this year’s event earned a $31.41 gift certificate. If the event proves successful, Coviello said he plans to reach out to the other elementary schools to gauge their interest in participating.
“Who knows, in a few years, this might be a statewide event,” he said.
Winners are expected to receive their awards at the April 8th School Board meeting in the Eileen Dondero Foley Council Chambers, City Hall. The public is invited to the April 8th event, where the winners will demonstrate their skill.