The worst part about getting hit in the face by ‘pi’? It never ends…

What’s a math teacher’s favorite dessert? Pi… depending how it’s served. Kristin Hardy doesn’t hold back on Mary Beth Parent at DePaolo Middle School’s Pi Day celebration on Thursday, March 16. The fundraising event was supposed to be held on March 14 (3/14)—the calendar equivalent of pi (3.14)— but last week’s snowfall changed the schedule. Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. What’s the worst thing about getting hit in the face with pi? It never ends (Pi’s decimal representation never repeats and never ends). Photo by John Goralski.



Last Thursday, there was a food fight in the DePaolo Middle School cafeteria, but it was the teachers that were throwing pies through the air. Students huddled in masses to watch and cheer them on. It was no ordinary sixth grade lunch wave.

DePaolo teacher Michael Garry used Pi Day – March 14 – to take a creative and competitive approach at fundraising for his Boston Marathon team. He called upon DePaolo faculty members to help him toward his $6,000 commitment to run on the 2017 Mass General Marathon Team for Pediatric Hematology Oncology.

DePaolo raised a total of $375 for Garry’s team, most of which came from the sixth grade, which is why the competition took place during their lunch wave.

“Of the $375 raised, $300 came from them,” he said. “Sixth grade really got behind it.”

Over 50 DePaolo staff members volunteered to help Garry, and the students got to pick teams of teachers that were subject to a pie in their face.

DePaolo science teacher Mike Garry encourages students to support their favorite teacher during a Pi Day contest during sixth grade lunch….

Teachers were divided into two teams, and they were challenged to a series of trivia questions. Students were divided as well, and each group got to help their teachers answer the question. The winning team members got the honor of pushing a plate of whipped cream into the losing team’s faces.

Garry encouraged students to offer up correct answers to their assigned teams—or incorrect answers if they wanted their teachers to be on the losing end of the pie fight.

Some questions were based on school trivia. “When did Chris Palmieri become DePaolo’s vice principal?” (Answer: 2005) or “When did Frank Pepe become DePaolo’s principal?” (Answer: 2008).

…but that didn’t keep him from getting a pie in his face.

Others were focused on the day’s theme. What is pi? (Answer: the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter). Who computed the first calculation of pi? (Answer: Archimedes). When did mathematicians start using the pi symbol? (Answer: The 1700s).

Pi is an infinite number, how many of the numbers can you remember? Answer quickly or you will face a messy consequence…

Funds raised at the school will be directed to cancer care and research initiatives that enhance the quality of life for the Boston hospital’s youngest cancer patients. Now a healthy 10 year old, Garry’s nephew battled pediatric lung cancer during his infancy and was a patient at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children.

“They were instrumental in his care,” Garry said. “Every year, someone has run on the team in his honor.”

Garry participated in the Hartford Marathon in 2012 to honor his mother who passed away unexpectedly that March. Now, he is ready to take on the Boston Marathon on April 17. He has been training since October for his 26.2 mile run.

“It’s for a great cause,” said Garry. “Any time I get tired or frustrated, I remember what it’s for.”

To learn more about the “Fighting Kids’ Cancer…One Step at a Time” team or to help support Garry, visit




Leave a Reply