NUTLEY, NJ - Nutley High School senior Dante Contella has been named the recipient of the 2020 Diane Greco Sajle Scholarship. The scholarship, named for the late 1974 Nutley High School graduate, is awarded annually to the football program’s “Most Valuable Teammate,” who, along with displaying athletic abilities, also exhibits the qualities Diane was most known for: Compassion, dedication and selflessness towards family, friends and community.
Contella, a team captain, helped guide the Raiders to a NJSIAA playoff berth in 2019. Nutley won its final three games in the regular season to improve to 5-4 and qualify for the playoffs. The team's overall mark was 5-5.
"It’s really awesome [to receive the scholarship,” said Contella. “I remember when the scholarship was given to Tyler Genitempo last year. He always showed such good qualities, so it’s really an honor to receive the same recognition he did.”
Contella's character and class was noted by interim head coach JD Vick.
"Dante is a top-of-the-line young man," said Vick. "He has worked with me in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He is high-character person with integrity. I'm very proud of Dante. It's a well-deserved honor."
The Diane Greco Sajle Scholarship is funded by members of the Greco family, and a close family friend, Glenn Villacari of Parkway Auto Body in Nutley.
“It’s a privilege to be able to help a deserving student athlete continue their education,” said Thomas Greco, Diane’s younger brother and founder of the scholarship. “To be able to do that and honor and keep Diane’s memory alive is something that is very meaningful to our family. I want to thank Coach Steve DiGregorio and the Nutley football coaching staff for choosing such an outstanding young man like Dante.”
DiGregorio was also thrilled for Contella.
"I've known the Greco family for many years," said DiGregorio. "And this is a wonderful scholarship. Dante is one of those kids you can always count on, on field and off. He always does the right thing. He’s a great citizen and a great role model for others.”
Rob Melillo, a Nutley High assistant football coach and Greco family friend, named Dante the recipient of the award at a recent awards dinner. In early February, members of the Greco and Sajle family gathered with the Contella family and the football coaching staff, to formally present him with the $2,000 award.
The Diane Greco Sajle Scholarship will be awarded annually at the conclusion of each Nutley High School football season. This is the second year it's been awarded.
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