Hailed as a “miracle workor,” Madeline Scotto, a teacher at Dyker Heights’ St. Eprhem’s elementary school, turned 100 years old on October 16, and the community honored her with a special mass and reception on Sunday.
She climbs the stairs to her classroom, where she works to prepare students for the math bee. She pores over photocopied worksheets with complicated problems, coaching kids on how to stay calm on stage while multiplying and dividing in their head.
… “Last year I thought, ‘This can’t be, that I’m going to be 100.’ I sat down and did the math actually. I thought, I could not trust my mind. This I had to put paper to pencil — I couldn’t believe it myself.
“It just kind of happened. I guess I’m very lucky.”
Scotto graduated from the school she now works in in 1928, when Dyker Heights was mostly farmland. She came to work there accidentally, when the nun slated to teach a class was injured in a bus accident on her way to the job. The church asked congregants if anybody could help, and with encouragement from her mother, Scotto began helping students in 1954, at the age of 40.
“I came over and then they wouldn’t let me go,” she said.
The teacher was honored on Sunday with a special mass at the church, located at Fort Hamilton Parkway and Bay Ridge Parkway. It was a packed house, filled with current and former students, friends and four generations of her family. She was honored by local pols including State Senator Marty Golden and City Councilman Vincent Gentile, according to a separate DNAinfo article.
Scotto thanks many of her colleagues, but saved her most abundant gratitude for the parents.
“I want you to enjoy it, as much as you have brought joy to me,” she said. “My life has been very rich. Thank you.”
Happy birthday to Ms. Scotto!