Celebrating pi with pie
BALLSTON SPA Jake Ashcraft ate the most pie at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School’s pie eating contest on Friday, and he was still ready for a second round.
“I made it through the wrestling season and I learned to eat giant amounts of food,” said Ashcraft, 16, from Glenville. “It was blueberry and it was good.”
This year’s pie eating contest marked the Ballston high school’s fourth annual celebration of Pi Day. The event was host by the school’s math club.
Students gathered to see the brave and hungry pie eaters during their lunch periods in the cafeteria. They huddled around the four contestants, with some students standing on tables to watch the excitement.
“Let’s go! Come on,” they screamed, as their peers scrambled to eat blueberry pie with their hands behind their backs. “Eat that pie!”
The event even had an emcee, who riled up the crowd providing a play-by-play of the students’ pie eating. She worked to encourage the contestants, whose faces were covered in blueberries.
“He’s not afraid! He’s really sticking his face in there,” she said into a microphone. "Uh-oh, I see the tongue coming out. They mean business.”
Ashcraft won the contest, which was the first of two held on Pi Day. He stood up and threw his arms in the air, claiming victory while blueberries slid down his face onto the table.
As the winner, Ashcraft was awarded the task of throwing a pie at another student’s face. The whole cafeteria laughed and screamed as pieces of pie flew across the room and hit several onlookers.
“This is just a chance for us to be silly,” said Carolyn Litynski, who teaches algebra and calculus for 9th and 12th grade. She is also the math club’s advisor. “It’s just a lot of fun for the students.”
The Pi Day celebration was part of the math club’s efforts to raise $500 for a scholarship program. Students in the club baked 20 pies and sold them during a bake sale.
Litynski said the scholarship would be given to a graduating senior next year who demonstrates creativity and passion for math and science. The club has already raised $400.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School wasn’t the only school in the Capital Region that celebrated Pi Day. The SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany welcomed students from Schalmont High School to learn about careers in nanotechnology while enjoying some pie.
Many more schools and businesses also celebrated Pi Day in the area, such as miSci, formerly the Schenectady Museum, which invited families and children to participate in Pi-related activities.