McGann-Mercy students study plastic waste dumped in landfills

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03/15/2013 2:00 PM |
COURTESY PHOTO | McGann-Mercy High School students competed in this year's Moodys Mega Math Challenge.

COURTESY PHOTO | McGann-Mercy High School students competed in the Moody’s Mega Math Challenge earlier this month. From left, James DeRicco, Delina Auciello, Kurt Bitner, Jennifer Perugi and Matthew Abazis.

Five McGann-Mercy High School students participated in the Moody’s Mega Math Challenge earlier this month in hopes of winning up to $115,000 in scholarships, according to a press release issued Monday by the school.

This year’s challenge, sponsored by the Moody’s Foundation, was called “Waste Not, Want Not: Putting Recyclables in Their Place.” Students created models to find out how much plastic ends up in landfills located throughout the country, predict the production rate of plastic waste over time and determine how much of it will end up in landfills 10 years from now, officials said.

The McGann-Mercy team’s findings were submitted in the form of a report to the Environmental Protection Agency within the competition’s time limit, officials said.

Math teacher Rosemary Darcy prepared her students — Matthew Abazis, Delina Auciello, Kurt Bitner, James DeRicco and Jennifer Perugi — for the online competition that took place on March 2. About 1,280 high school teams from 29 states participated and were tasked with solving the real-world issue in just 14 hours using math modeling and analysis, officials said.

School officials said contest winners for the scholarship prizes should be announced within six weeks.

jennifer@timesreview.com