Somers Education Foundation Throws Blackjack Bash

Rick and Joan Mancini Credits: Somers Education Foundation
Pete McDonald Credits: Somers Education Foundation
Gus Talleur Credits: Somers Education Foundation
Somers High School secretarial staff: Joan Tippett, Robyn Silverstein, Helen Morvillo, John Sheridan, Liz Richtarcik, and Teri Cominsky Credits: Somers Education Foundation
Primrose secretarial staff: Stacey Kammerer, Ann George, and Pat Cash Credits: Somers Education Foundation
Somers Intermediate School secretarial staff: Manuela Goncalves, Diane Kenny, and Clare Andersen. Credits: Somers Education Foundation
Somers Middle School secretarial staff: Gina Oriti, Mariellen Coogan, Jill Dickinson, and Linda Martin Credits: Somers Education Foundation

SOMERS, N.Y.-This year’s Blackjack Bash features more honorees than ever before along with a movie trailer screening, all in the name of raising money for students.

The honorees are Rick and Joan Mancini, Pete McDonald, Gus Talleur and the 17 members of the secretarial staff from Somers schools. All of the honorees will be inducted into the Hall of Fame for their service to the children of Somers.

“All these people have had a real impact on the children of Somers and have made their lives better,” said Glenn Hintze, president of the Somers Education Foundation.

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Honorary chairs Charlie and Sally Comparetto will premier the trailer of the movie they’ve been working on, “Ghost in the Graveyard,” which features scenes shot in and around Somers, followed by an opportunity to ask questions about the film.

Every year, the foundation considers nominees from the community and looks to include people in the schools–this year, the secretaries–along with community leaders and those who have had an impact on children in sports and clubs.

“The common theme is that all of these people have helped improve the value and education of children of Somers inside and outside of school,” Hintze said.

Hintze said the Blackjack Bash will have a party atmosphere with food stations, a DJ, and a number of opportunities to play games and win prizes.

“It’s all about honoring good people and parents coming out to have a good time,” Hintze said. “We get a lot of the administrators and teachers there, too, which is nice, and like every one of our events and why we exist is to raise money for the children of Somers that we then turn into grants and scholarships.”

Since 1994, the foundation has awarded more than $1.3 million to the Somers School District.

This is largest fundraiser of the year for the Somers Education Foundation. To register, visit Cost is $125 per person and all proceeds go directly to the grants and scholarships for the students.

The Blackjack Bash is from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, March 10, at Villa Barone in Mahopac. For more information and tickets, visit


Rick and Joan Mancini

Rick and Joan Mancini are originally from Somers and Mahopac, respectively, and both have a deep and lifelong love for the area. They met shortly after Rick graduated from Somers High School and Joan from Mahopac High School. They say it was love at first sight. Rick and Joan raised five adventurous sons and now have five grandchildren. They have been a team at Mancini Realty in Somers for nearly 25 years after Rick, his father and brother formed Mancini Building in the 1970s. Rick received his real estate license in 1996 and Joan followed two years later. When they are not selling or building homes, they enjoy boating, cooking, traveling and spending time with family, including their real estate “family.” Their love and passion for the Somers community runs very deep, resulting from the countless connections and memories made throughout the years. They are also proud that their business is a part of Somers and enjoy giving back however and whenever they can.

Pete McDonald

Pete McDonald has always believed in giving back and helping others. A graduate of Mount Vernon High School, he is a longtime registered nurse and firefighter. After receiving his nursing degree, he began working as an emergency room nurse in Harlem in 1983 and then worked in various hospitals across New York City, Westchester County and Putnam County. In 1984, he became a full-time firefighter in his native Mount. Vernon and continued for 32 years, retiring in 2016 and earning a bachelor’s degree in fire and emergency service administration along the way. Currently he works as a registered nurse at Putnam Hospital Center. A Somers resident since 1985, he began his Scouting career with Pack 1 in 2001 and became an assistant Cubmaster. Following his son Kevin, he became an assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 228 and then eventually Scoutmaster from 2012-2017. He has immersed himself in his Scouting work, traveling to sites in the Adirondacks, the Florida Sea Base and the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. He’s done more than 100 camp-outs  and participated in dozens of summer camps. Pete and his wife, Lauri, also a registered nurse, have three children, Kate, Kevin and Liam.

Gus Talleur

Gus Talleur has worn many hats in the 20 years he has lived in Somers. A Hyde Park native who graduated from Albany State University with degrees in political science and criminal justice, he has had a distinguished career in law enforcement. He currently leads a unit in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office that is focused on organized crime, racketeering and white collar crime. Also a certified high school teacher, Gus has served the Somers community as a baseball coach, including as director of the Pony League, and as a Boy Scout leader, culminating in a seven-year run as Scoutmaster of Troop 376 that recently concluded. Gus is honored to have been able to assist many Somers youth and is particularly grateful for his role helping Scouts mature into young men through leadership, service and giving back. He and his wife, Theresa, have two sons, Conor and Declan.


Schools’ secretarial staff

When you think of the “nerve center” of any school building, the main office/guidance office always comes to mind. The people who work there are seen by many but not everyone knows their names. Yet all do know that these folks, with their deep skills and decades of experience, are most responsible for keeping everything humming smoothly during the course of the school day throughout the buildings. Their constituents are many: administrators, teachers, parents, community members, other visitors and most importantly, the students. They help everyone, every day, with patience, respect and a smile. The 17 honorees are: Pat Cash, Ann George, Stacey Kammerer from Primrose School; Clare Anderson, Manuela Goncalves, Diane Kenny from Somers Intermediate School; Mariellen Coogan, Jill Dickinson, Linda Martin, Gina Oriti from Somers Middle School; and Teri Cominsky, Barbara Haggerty, Helen Morvillo, Liz Richtarcik, John Sheridan, Robyn Silverstein and Joan Tippett from Somers High School.


Honorary chairs

Charlie and Sally Comparetto

Charlie, a Queens native, and Sally, from Mahopac, met as undergraduates at Hofstra University, married in 1995 and moved to Somers from Manhattan in 1997. They have raised five daughters who have been in Somers schools: Charley, Kaleigh, Riley, Makenna and Kamryn Lilly. They have volunteered extensively in the community and the schools, including in AYSO soccer and the PTAs. Sally chaired Authors’ Day for 13 years. One day, Charlie returned home to see Sally teaching some girls her favorite childhood game called “Ghost in the Graveyard.” Charlie thought it looked creepy and that someone should make a movie about it. That night, an idea was born. Filming recently concluded in and around Somers. The trailer for the movie “Ghost in the Graveyard,” written, directed and produced by Charlie and strongly supported by Sally, will make its debut at the Blackjack Bash.

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