Villa Maria Academy 7th graders take home top honors at Iona Preparatory Mathematics Olympics

(L-r) Teacher Rose Burkhart, Austin Haney, GianPaul Calle, Edward Delatorre, Michael Martire, Justin Piccininni, Alex Salcedo and Math teacher Rita Peduzzi.
Photo courtesy of Villa Maria Academy

A local school’s 7th graders took home all the awards at Iona Prep’s Math Olympics for Catholic grammar schools in the Bronx and Westchester.

A group of students from Villa Maria Academy won the top four individual spots at the 26th Annual Iona Prep Mathematics Olympics in New Rochelle on Sunday, May 3.

The private school also took home top team honors, as well as the alternate award, sweeping all categories.

“They were very excited and proud,” said Rita Peduzzi, Villa Maria mathematics teacher, of her students. “We were so excited for them, the math program, and the school in general.”

Villa Maria has been participating in the event for years, and Peduzzi added: “(These students) made history for our school.”

St. Gabriel’s School in Riverdale placed fifth as a team in the contest, and Our Lady of Assumption School in Pelham Bay also competed in the annual academic Olympics for 7th grade boys. Ten schools in total participated.

Iona Prep math teacher Charles Sloat said that the competition consisted of two parts: a written examination without calculators of individual team members, and then a team test where groups of four boys from each school complete with a second written test.

The tests consisted of computational problems that were pre-algebra questions, said Sloat.

“We certainly know a lot of these kids have opportunities to challenge one another,” said Sloat, who added “This is an academic way to give them something to rally around.”

As with athletic tournaments, the mathematics competition gave the young men an opportunity to visit Iona Prep and see all that the school has to offer, said Sloat.

The individual winners from Villa Maria Academy were Michael Martire who placed first, Edward Delatorre who took second place, Justin Piccininni who took third, and GianPaul Calle who took fourth place.

Six students from each school participated, and Villa Maria also won the award for first alternate, with Alexander Salcedo taking home honors.

The individual winners received plaques and medals. The first alternate received a certificate. All of the participating students also received a certificate and an Iona Prep Mathematics Olympics t-shirt.

Iona Prep’s Fathers Council donated the awards and t-shirts, and Sloat especially thanked Jack Caliendo.

Peduzzi said she attributed Villa Maria Academy’s success to small math class sizes for grades 5 through 8.

She and fellow math teacher Rose Burkhart instruct three different classes of math in each of those grades.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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