Record-Breaking Pi Day Celebration Raises Over $27,000 for Maine School of Science and Mathematics

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 5:06 PM EDT
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On Pi Day, MSSM students participated in a friendly contest to determine who could recite the most digits of pi in sequence (starting with 3.14 and continuing indefinitely). Each participant received a small, single-serving pie, and the winner was awarded a freshly baked blueberry pie. The MSSM Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to supporting the school, saw an opportunity to turn Pi Day into a fundraising event. The Foundation contacted alumni, friends, and parents, encouraging them to pledge any amount for each digit of pi the winning student could correctly recite.

A sophomore from Windham, Maine, managed to recite 500 digits, surpassing the previous year’s winner who named 213 digits correctly. With 42 donors pledging a combined total of $55.66 per digit, the MSSM Foundation raised $27,580.

Sam Critchlow, Executive Director of MSSM, commented on the event, saying, “It was incredible. I had printed out 300 digits of pi before the competition to keep track, but then at the last minute printed out more to be safe. I’m glad I did!”

Throughout its 28-year history, MSSM has hosted Pi Day competitions intermittently, with students reaching hundreds of digits on multiple occasions. Observers believe that the recent performance sets a new record for the school.

Jeff Candura, Development Director for the Foundation, shared his surprise at the outcome: “I almost could believe what I was seeing. We were hoping to raise a few thousand dollars. We never expected this.”

The MSSM Foundation supports professional development grants, facility upgrades, summer camps, student financial assistance, and academic programming.

Candura emphasized the positive impact of the fundraiser, stating, “This fundraiser will allow us to do so much good here at MSSM. The students and faculty here are incredible. It is a small school, and they need all the financial support they can get!”