Brooklyn school honors teacher celebrating 100th birthday

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Lauren Glassberg has the story. (WABC)

A Brooklyn school paid tribute to a member of its community Monday -- a teacher who also studied at the school in the 1920s.

Madeline Scotto was all smiles, at the school where she has taught at for 60 years. After all, it was her day.

It's also the school she attended as a child, when she was in St. Ephrem's first graduating class. And if you do the math, you'll learn that Mrs. Scotto is 100 years young.

And so the students at St. Ephrem's in Dyker Heights celebrated her and her birthday, which was technically on October 16. But when you're this age, the celebration should last and last, which is sort of what Mrs. Scotto has done.

"I never really thought about getting to be 100," she said. "I really must say, that was never on my mind until I was 99. And then, believe it or not, I took out the pencil and paper."

At 90, she stopped teaching math in the classroom to focus on tutoring kids for the Math Bee.

"I'm in the Math Bee, so I go to her for practice," student Tara McLoughlin said. "And she makes math fun, the way she does it, she makes it fun."

"My first year here, I was really struggling with math," student Shannon McLoughlin added. "But she took me into the Math Bee program, and now I'm one of the top kids in my class."

And Mrs. Scotto never even planned to be a teacher, but it happened by accident. In 1954, the sisters who worked at the school were in a bus accident, and she offered to fill in while they recovered. She's been there ever since.

"It was definitely a good accident, I would say that," she said.

She has 5 children, 9 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren, with each group represented at the celebration. Thirty heirs to her name, the sum of a full life.

She's an inspiration to many, including a former student who is now her colleague.

"I think it's very fair to say she's blessed," teacher Rick Diffendale said. "One hundred years, up and down the stairs every day. There's still no elevators to her classroom. So it's amazing to see

Perhaps it's the kids that keep her young?

"I like to do for others the little bit that I know, I'm really ready to impart," she said.

And she'll continue to do so, several days a week.
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educationteacherNew York CityDyker Heights
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