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Students chow down on Pi(e) Day

March 14, 2012

You can say Luke Walsh was excited for math on Wednesday, but that might be an understatement.

Walsh, a math instructor at Catawba Valley Community College, was more like a radio DJ or club emcee, orchestrating CVCC’s Pi Day Eating Challenge with a passion for mathematics and competitive eating.

“All right everybody let me see your Pi’s,” Walsh said. He held up three fingers — symbolic for the mathematical Pi equivalent of 3.14 — and waved his arm back and forth.

He drew a couple “Pi’s” from the CVCC student crowd.

“That’s all right, we’ll get funky later,” he said.

Walsh created and led the Pi Day Eating Challenge. The contest dared CVCC students and instructors to see who could eat the most MoonPies in one minute and two seconds, the solution to the math equation Pi divided by the number three.

A MoonPie is a marshmallow-based snack surrounded by graham cracker and coated in chocolate. It sounds like an easy enough treat to eat, but contestants were eating double-decker MoonPies on Wednesday and had nothing to drink.

There were five rounds of eating. The winning number — one Moon Pie.

“The marshmallow was so thick that it was too hard to swallow,” said CVCC student Kenny Roundy, who ate one MoonPie.

CVCC student Allen Hang agreed.

“It was way too thick. It was going everywhere, and was way too thick to swallow,” Hang said.

Roundy and Hang competed in the first round, and both ate one MoonPie.

Walsh called the round a “Pi Tie."

Between rounds, Walsh supplied math trivia questions, and students worked on problems related to the Pi Day theme. Walsh kept the students entertained throughout, especially during the eating contests.

“We need some RC Cola really bad to go along with these MoonPies,” he said. “There may be a Pi-off between all the winners at this pace. Come on down everybody, we’ve got plenty of Pi, plenty of prizes and we are ready to go.”

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