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100-year-old Brooklyn math teacher who refuses to retire says she ‘can’t sit back and do nothing’

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BROOKLYN (PIX11) -- For most of us, hearing about your birthday on the radio is a seldom occurrence.

However, in the case of Brooklyn math teacher Madeline Scotto, it’s pretty much warranted.

“This is very exciting!” Scotto said as she and her daughter Michelle crowded around a radio in a quaint living room, listening to a news report honoring her birthday.

Mrs. Scotto is celebrating a milestone turning 100 years old. What’s even more incredible, she is still part of the workforce, working as a math instructor at Saint Ephrem’s Elementary School in the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn.

“You know I’m into math so I actually sat down one day and did [the math] with pencil and paper,” Scotto told PIX11 News, admitting she just couldn’t wrap her head around turning 100. “I couldn’t believe it.”

A life-long resident of Brooklyn, Mrs. Scotto is a mother to five, a grandmother to nine and a great grandmother to 16.

She became a teacher when she was 40, returning to Saint Ephrem’s elementary – the same school where she was part of the first graduating class in 1928.

Currently she works three days a week at the school – which is conveniently located across the street from her home – where she helps prep students for the annual math bee.

“Oh that’s a bad word,” Scotto said, referring to retiring. “I don’t ever want to hear that word.”

“Some people like what they’re doing but I have a passion for what I’m doing and when you have a passion for something, you never give up,” she said.

“Yea, it’s challenging but that’s what the world is about, you just can’t sit back and do nothing.”

And sit back she does not. Still very much in tune with current events, Mrs. Scotto has an opinion on almost everything.

“Obama has a job I do not relish,” she revealed, as she delved into the front page of the New York Times which is part of her daily routine. Then she tackled the television industry.

“I am not deliriously happy with television lately – too much advertisements,” she dished.

Mrs. Scotto will be celebrated Sunday with a special 10:30 a.m. mass at St. Ephrem’s Church on Fort Hamilton Parkway.



    • Aisha Ahmed

      No, she does not need to retire. If she retire she may die. This regular routine of teaching math may be what is keeping her alive. Besides she is teaching for a Bee. This is a part time position that may not even exist after she stops teaching it. This will become one of the full-time math teachers job as an after school activity with no additional benefit.

    • Elizabeth

      It’s sad that continuing to support one self is considered selfish. If I live to be 100 I think it would be amazing to still be able to do what I love. If you manage to live that long I’m sure you will be to. You

  • Jowak

    my classmate’s sister-in-law makes $75 every hour on the laptop . She has been without work for 8 months but last month her paycheck was $12908 just working on the laptop for a few hours. read this article…. Jump32.Ƈom

  • LupisCanis

    I applaud the school for looking past the age. I’m glad there are still people looking to make a difference. Way to go.

  • Mike Land

    HOW? I can’t believe this. OBE, Common Core, and all that bullshit they now inject into young minds just can’t work with her. I mean 1+4=5 just does not exist. It’s 5 is the expected result of increasing 4 by 1 increment. Sally sells sea shells by the seashore is just not applicable. It’s Sally has obtained a permit with the US Fish and Wildlife commission to open a concession that vends the discarded exoskeleton of indigenous riparian life to public buyers along with necessary tax permits for same.

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