Math is Money for Elba Middle School Students

For the third consecutive year, Elba teacher Colleen Vacanti’s students took top awards in the Math Poster Contest sponsored by Genesee Community College’s Math Club. Creating posters to reflect this year’s theme Math is Money, eighth graders Meg Stucko and Marissa Pangrazio won first place with their poster entitled Anesthesiologist. For these two students, math really became money as Stucko and Pangrazio split the top prize of $50.

The trio Perla Tristan, Cinthia Vargas, and Nancy Franco, all eighth graders, took second place honors with their poster entitled Real Estate Sales. Seventh grader Juan Carlos Vargas was the sole third place winner with his poster entitled Mechanics in Math. Rounding out the field was Honorable Mention winner Jenna Pangrazio.

Posters were judged on the basis of mathematical accuracy, creativity, clarity, and overall impact. The awards ceremony took place on Wednesday, April 23 at the Batavia campus of Genesee Community College.

“Math is Money was one of the more difficult themes we’ve had for the poster contest,” said Mary Knappen, Associate Professor of Mathematics at Genesee and contest coordinator. “The posters had to illustrate how mathematics is useful in higher-paying professions. We live in a global economy, and many high-paying jobs require high-level math skills. The United States seems to be falling behind other countries in this area. It is essential to catch students in lower grades to help instill an appreciation for math. Our middle school poster contest for Genesee County is one small way our club can try to help address that problem.”

The contest was open to all Genesee County middle school students. For more information about next year’s contest contact Knappen at 585-343-0055 x6382 or by email at

Editor’s Note: A photograph of the winners is available by going to:

Pictured l-r: Juan Carlos Vargas, Meg Stucko, Marissa Pangrazio, Jenna Pangrazio, Perla Tristan, and Cinthia Vargas