100-year-old Bay Ridge teacher honored at Borough Hall

December 31, 2014 Jaime DeJesus
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Bay Ridge has a hero!

St. Ephrem’s Elementary School math teacher and tutor Madeline Scotto, who celebrated her 100th birthday this past October, was honored at Brooklyn Borough Hall on Wednesday, December 17 during the borough president’s Hero of the Month ceremony.

Scotto received the award for the month of November.  Borough President Eric Adams addressed the crowd that consisted of students, family and friends of Scotto.

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“For being a truly tireless teacher and the inspiration she has given to Brooklynites young and old over the course of her long career educating our youth, I would like to honor Madeline Scotto as Brooklyn Hero of the Month for November,” Adams said.

Scotto was thrilled by the honor, but was quick to explain that it wasn’t just about her. “I really feel that this day is not my day. It is the boys’ day,” she said regarding two students, Jack L. and Anthony P., who she’s trained for the local math bee and who joined her during the ceremony. “They’re the ones who work hard. I only make up the questions. That’s the easy part. They’re the ones that have to do the answering. And the boys deserve a lot of credit because they give up their recess time to be coached, so I think the day is about the boys and their parents, the school. I come last.”

Scotto’s lessons have paid off for the students, as Jack won the Math Bee for Brooklyn and Queens last year.

“We’re lifelong Brooklyn residents so to be honored by our county means a great deal,” added Scotto’s daughter, Michelle. “She’s had a lot of honors over her life and she’s been interviewed a lot as well. It’s been a little bit overwhelming but she’s happy about it.”

Scotto, who started her teaching career in St. Ephrem’s in 1960, still works at the school on a part-time basis. The school helped the dedicated teacher celebrate her birthday with a Mass and reception that local dignitaries, students, family and friends attended. In 2009, she was also awarded the highest honor to be bestowed on a lay person by the Pope.

Scotto was joined by firefighter Lieutenant Robert Whelan, who received the award for December for saving a boy’s life during a fire at Brownsville this past November.

“Brooklyn is home to a wide range of heroes, from young firefighters to teachers that are still young at heart,” noted Adams.

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