Amanda Garofalo’s decision to attend MIT was as simple as 2 x Pi

When a student finds his or her dream college, there is usually a message attached.

It could be innuendo, or something as simple as a bird flying by, or just a feeling of ‘this is where I belong.’

For Amanda Garofalo, a recent graduate of West Essex High School and a brilliant student, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, also known as Pi, convinced her that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in Cambridge, Mass, was the place for her.


Garofalo made her official announcement that MIT was her college choice three months ago. She’ll begin classes this fall, while also playing field hockey there.

While enjoying the moment at school last winter, with her mother, Michele, dad, Bill, along with Amanda’s field hockey coach Jill Cosse and West Essex athletic director Anthony Minnella, Garofalo, with that ever-present smile on her face, politely explained why Pi was so relevant.

In February, Amanda was joined by her parents, Michele (front row, left) and Bill (front row, right), along with West Essex field hockey coach Jill Cosse (back row, left) and athletic director Anthony Minnella (center) when she made her official announcement that she’ll be attending MIT. And that’s me, far right, back row. (Click on photos for larger images)

“It’s pretty simple,” she said, as Cosse delivered a subtle elbow to my ribs, which was code for ‘wait for it’. “It was 6:28 p.m. when I found out I was accepted (on Dec. 15, 2016). 628 is Pi x 2.”

Oh, sure. (LOL)

But, as usual, Amanda was right.

And even I know that 3.1416 x 2 = 6.28. (Or thereabouts).

Amanda on Senior Day. (Click on photos for larger images)

See? You learn something new every day.

But Garofalo, who clearly loves Mathematics and Science, and will major in Engineering in college, is also a tremendous athlete. In the fall, she was a team captain of West Essex’s marvelous run to the Tournament of Champions crown, as the Knights stunned perennial powerhouse Eastern, 2-1, in the championship game, to cap a 24-1 season.

In the spring, she was the speedy centerfielder of a very good softball team, which won a second straight Super Essex Conference title in 2017. A year ago, the Knights also won an SEC crown, as well as an Essex County championship and the North Jersey, Section 1, Group 3 championship.

Garofalo (right) and one of her best friends, Alexa Vardiman, celebrated an Essex County championship in 2016. Alexa lends a helping hand to Amanda in a 2017 game. (Click on photos for larger images)

Amanda was considering MIT, along with Stanford and a number of other top quality schools.

“I was so excited when I was accepted at MIT,” she said. “The coaches there have been great to me. I went to MIT in April for an overnight, and it was incredible. Boston is such a great city, too. I can’t wait.”

Cosse, who throws compliments around with the ease of a manhole cover, bubbles when it comes to Garofalo, the athlete and more importantly, the person.

Amanda always made her parents, Michele and Bill, proud during her high school days. (Click on photo for larger image)

“Amanda blows you away with her energy and hard work,” said Cosse. “She’s such a great girl. You look at the difficult courses she took in school, and then see how she performs as an athlete, for field hockey and softball. She’s just amazing.”

Amanda’s parents are both successful accountants, yet her father kids that he doesn’t understand where his daughter gets her incredible aptitude.

“It’s not from me,” said Bill Garofalo, with a laugh. “No way. Has to be from her mother.”

Amanda (far left) joins teammates, l to r, Alexa Vardiman, Sami Huetter and Bridget Betley after a 2017 game. The four look slightly different, as they look forward to a graduation gathering. (Click on photos for larger images)

The four team captains for West Essex field hockey are all headed to outstanding colleges. Lia Sinisi will attend Michigan State, Lizzy Cimilluca is off to Iowa and Jordyn Thies will attend the University of Pennsylvania.

Amanda proudly showed off her Tournament of Champions field hockey jacket in early February.

“Obviously, a very special class,” said Cosse of the 2016 Knights run to history.

MIT field hockey coach Cheryl Silva was also pleased that Garofalo will be playing for the Engineers this fall.

“We are very excited to have Amanda joining our program, this coming fall at MIT,” said Silva. “She has had an outstanding high school career both on and off the field, and we are lucky to have a scholar-athlete of her caliber joining our squad.”

West Essex softball coach Andrea Mondadori echoed Cosse’s sentiments on Garofalo.

“Amanda is an incredible young woman,” said Mondadori. “She has a tremendous future in store. Amanda was part of a very special senior class, that did so many great things for our program.”

In the long history of West Essex as a dynamic academic school, Amanda is one of the first to be attending MIT.

“It means a lot,” said Amanda. “It’s been such a rewarding experience going to West Essex. My family has always been there for me, and now, I’m ready for the next step.”

And that, along with a simple Pi equation, says it all about a very talented and classy young woman.

Congrats, Amanda ! All the best.


By mike051893

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