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Janie Hart, Molly Stark music teacher, dressed as Benjamin Franklin and read from “Ben Franklin and the Magic Square.” (Derek Carson)

BENNINGTON -- The Molly Stark School honored a longtime teacher on Monday with "Gail Harwood Math Day." Harwood passed away in January after a long battle with cancer.

The day began with a Monday Morning Celebration, which saw students rap about math and a group of teachers perform "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed."

Harwood's husband of 43 years, James Harwood, was in attendance for the ceremony, according to principal Donna MacKenzie King.

During the day, students decorated the classroom doors and hallways throughout the school with math-themed displays, breakfast and lunch menus were written to reflect math vocabulary, and math problems were scattered throughout the hallway for students to solve. Pat Conway, the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union's teacher leader for mathematics, and Janet Wells, the title math teacher at Molly Stark, traveled from classroom to classroom giving math lessons.

That evening, 150 students and parents gathered again for Math Night, which featured math-related games and activities, as well as presentations from students dressed up as famous mathematicians.

Leading off the program was a stirring performance from a special guest, "Benjamin Franklin," who was actually music teacher Janie Hart in disguise, reading "Ben Franklin and the Magic Square." A magic square, she explained, is a 3x3 grid in which the numbers in all the rows, columns, a diagonals add up to 15.

Pizza was served at the event, and each family got a math-themed bag as well as other door prizes.

Harwood was born in Blythe, Calif., on Nov. 22, 1951, but was raised in Bennington, and spent the last 25 years living in Hoosick Falls, N.Y., according to her obituary, which was published in the Banner. She graduated from Mount Anthony Union High School in 1969, and received a degree in education from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Mass., four years later. She spent much of the time since teaching math at Molly Stark, until her retirement last June.

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB