UNICO hosts annual scholarship dinner

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — The Orange/West Orange Chapter of UNICO National held its 2017 Scholarship Dinner on June 21 at Mayfair Farms in West Orange. Three UNICO National Scholarship winners were announced and six local area high school students were awarded individual local scholarships. Italian Language Awards were also given to high school students.

Local scholarships in the amount of $1,500 were awarded to the students based on their academic achievement, high school extracurricular activities, community service and work experiences. The students were selected by a committee of Orange/West Orange UNICO members, which was chaired by Scholarship Chairman Frank V. Gonnella.

All six students who received scholarships are now West Orange High School alumni. Emma Scalora received the Anthony F. & Flora Gonnella Memorial Scholarship; Amanda Scalora received the Vecchio Family Memorial Scholarship; Peyton Smith won the Orange/West Orange UNICO Scholarship; Bianca Trinidad won the Orange/West Orange UNICO Scholarship in memory of Fred Grecco; Ivana Onubogu received the Roseann Townsend Memorial Scholarship; and Austin Bartola won the Orange/West Orange UNICO Scholarship in memory of Andrea Savignano.

Italian Language Scholarships were also awarded to students for outstanding academic achievement in the Italian language; these students were selected by their teachers. Christian Galvano of Seton Hall Prep received the Orange/West Orange UNICO Italian Language Scholarship and Deborah Alabi of WOHS received the Michele & Lucia Russo Italian Language Scholarship.

Additionally, three students sponsored by the Orange/West Orange UNICO Chapter were awarded UNICO National Scholarships. John Yager of Randolph, a student at Randolph High School, will receive the Major Don S. Gentile Undergraduate Scholarship in the amount of $6,000; Stephanie M. Gonnella of Randolph, a student at the University of Scranton, will receive the Bernard & Carolyn Torraco Memorial Nursing Scholarship in the amount of $2,500; and Nicolette Guida of Staten Island, a student at the College of Staten Island, will receive the DiMattio Celli Family Study Abroad Scholarship in the amount of $1,250.

The chapter donated an additional $30,000 to local and national charities and organizations. Two of their larger projects this year were a $10,000 donation to create a Pocket Park on Main Street in West Orange at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park and the donation of 15 two-way radios to the West Orange Community Emergency Response Team. In addition UNICO supported Seton Hall University Valenti Library, West Orange Children’s Christmas Party, WOHS Booster Club, WOHS Pride, West Orange PAL, West Orange Community House, West Orange First Aid Squad, Mayor’s Program for Individual with Disabilities, Martin Picillo Seton Hall Scholarship and the Employment Horizons. On a national level the chapter donated to UNICO Foundation, UNICO National Mental Health, Cooley’s Anemia Foundation, UNICO National Anti-Bias Committee, UNICO National Scholarship Fund and the Jimmy V. Foundation for Cancer Research.

The chapter serves the community by providing scholarships and supporting charities on a local and national basis. The organization also actively promotes the recognition of Italian heritage and culture and the contributions Italian Americans have made to our country.