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‘When you have a passion for something, you never give up,’ says 100-year-old teacher who refuses to retire

Posted at 2:05 PM, Oct 19, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-19 14:05:25-04

BROOKLYN, NY — 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.

WPIX reports 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 WPIX, 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.”

Brooklyn math teacher Madeline Scotto is 100 years old.

Brooklyn math teacher Madeline Scotto is 100 years old.

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 was honored Sunday with a special 10:30 a.m. mass at St. Ephrem’s Church on Fort Hamilton Parkway.