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Lenape MS student stuns record keepers with Pi Day prowess


For the second straight year Nergis Teke astounded her peers and teachers when she recited 1,017 digits of Pi. And, she did it in 20 minutes.

The Lenape Middle School 9th grader is nothing less than a math and memorization genius, said Angelo Menta, a teacher at the Doylestown Borough school who introduced the Pi Day contest last year.

“I’m proud of myself,” said Teke. “I always knew I could do it. It would just be a lot of work.”

What the 15-year-old did was memorize a record-breaking number of digits of Pi, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. The runner up recited 268. When her record is accepted, she’ll be 68th in the U.S. and 77th in North America in all age groups, Teke said.

To accomplish the remarkable feat, she practiced and practiced, and practiced.

Lying in bed, she’d memorize chunks of numbers then spend about an hour to an hour and a half memorizing 100 and 200 digits. She practiced in front of her parents.

Asked why she entered the contest, Teke said, “I get to show my amazing memory skills.”

“The Wednesday before Pi Day she woke up at 4:30 a.m., as she does during Ramadan to eat breakfast before sunrise, and stayed up to memorize digits 900 through 1,000 instead of going back to bed, as she normally would,” Menta said, in an email.

Teke said she’s not sure if she’ll continue to participate in the Pi Day event. “It’s a lot of pressure to always try to be better.”

The math and memory wiz recited 447 digits last year. “I’d like to set a higher goal, maybe 1,000,” she said at the time.

All 10 contestants competed in front of two witnesses to verify the account in order for the record to be recognized on the online Pi World Ranking List. Records for all students who recited 20 digits or more and wanted to be included in the list were submitted, Menta said.

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