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Easy as Pi
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Pioneer pride was evident at Warren County High School when students celebrated a certain irrational number, revered by ancient Egyptians and Babylonians and still today the object of intense intellectual pursuit in mathematics, physics and computer science. 
The Greek letter representing the ratio of the diameter of a circle to its circumference is π. In English pronunciation, it sounds like ”pie.” The number starts as the close approximation 3.141592, but then continues inexorably toward infinity, with no known repetitions of number series. As one of the most basic mathematical constants, pi is indispensable to science, technology and engineering – from designing bridges over rivers to landing robotic probes on Mars. 
WCHS students, math teachers and staff were encouraged to participate in Pi Day activities. Some wore unique T-shirts. Staff members were given Moon Pi. Pi music was played during first period, math teachers presented various educational activities, and some students made actual pies and calculated circumference and surface area of their pies. Some of the 1,800 students made and sang songs about pi, and some dressed as Albert Einstein, who coincidentally was born on 3-14. 
A perennial highlight of the local Pi Day is a contest inviting students to memorize and recite pi to an impressive number of digits to the right of the decimal point. Sophomore Matthew Austin cinched first-place honors after reproducing the correct number to 275 decimal digits. Darien Cunningham, also a 10th-grader, finished second with 150 places, and junior Newby Parton claimed third place with 94.
“I really like math,” Austin said after his winning performance, an achievement that garnered him a graphing scientific calculator worth about $160. Asked about future academic directions and career ideas, he answered, “I’m thinking about engineering or architecture.”
 But why go to all the effort to memorize pi with such great precision? “I have a competitive spirit and I like a challenge. I just like to push myself.”  Austin was no novice in the memory competition however, as he placed second in the 2012 event after Jesse Hanley, who racked up 430 digits to the right of the decimal point. 
The Pi Day champion praised his teachers and his mother for their encouragement and support. 
 “I couldn’t ask for better teachers, they really care about the students. And not a day goes by that my mother isn’t asking about my homework. She’s really interested in what I’m doing in school.” 
Austin’s strategy for memorizing pi relied on pattern recognition as he repeated groups of numbers in which he saw relationships. “These numbers just look like they go together,” he explained.
WCHS math and geometry teachers have organized and promoted Pi Day activities for several years as a way of encouraging students in deeper exploration of one of the most important physical constants in the universe, an unchanging numerical relationship that affects individuals and civilizations in countless ways.  
For example, pie chefs can calculate the circumference, surface area and volume of the edible pastry if they know the diameter and can apply the basic math using pi. Not surprisingly, several math students joined in the spirit of the occasion and brought pies for the enjoyment of their classes.
And the entree’ in the high school cafeteria?  Chicken pot pi and pizza pi, of course.