WEST ORANGE, NJ - The Orange/West Orange Chapter of UNICO (O/WO UNICO) National held its 2017 Scholarship Dinner on Wednesday 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 extra-curricular activities, community service, and work experiences. The students were selected by a committee of members, which was chaired by O/WO UNICO member Frank Gonnella.   

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Students received the following scholarships:  

Emma Scalora – Anthony F. and Flora Gonnella Memorial Scholarship;

Amanda Scalora, West Orange High School – Vecchio Family Memorial Scholarship;

Peyton Smith, West Orange High School – O/WO UNICO Scholarship;

Bianca Trinidad, West Orange High School – O/WO UNICO Scholarship in memory of Fred Grecco;

Ivana Onubogu, West Orange High School – Roseann Townsend Memorial Scholarship; and

Austin Bartola, West Orange High School – O/WO UNICO Scholarship in memory of Andrea Savignano.

Italian Language Scholarships were also awarded to students for outstanding academic achievement in the Italian Language as selected by their teachers.   

Christian Galvano, of Seton Hall Prep received the O/WO UNICO Italian Language Scholarship and Deborah Alabi of West Orange High School received the Michele and Lucia Russo Italian Language Scholarship. 

It was also announced that three students sponsored by the O/WO UNICO Chapter were awarded UNICO National Scholarships. 

John Yager of Randolph (Randolph High School) will receive the Major Don S. Gentile Undergraduate Scholarship in the amount of $ 6,000; Stephanie M. Gonnella of Randolph (University of Scranton) will receive the Bernard & Carolyn Torraco Memorial Nursing Scholarship in the amount of $2,500; and Nicolette Guida of Staten Island (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 the organization’s larger projects this year included 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 (CERT). 

In addition, O/WO UNICO supported Seton Hall University Valenti Library, West Orange Children’s Christmas Party, West Orange HS Booster Club, West Orange HS 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 the following: UNICO Foundation, UNICO National Mental Health, Cooley’s anemia, 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.

Pictured above (left to right) are Frank Gonnella (O/WO UNICO scholarship chairman), Bianca Trinidad  (WOHS), Christian Galvano (SHP), Emma Scalora (WOHS), Peyton Smith (WOHS), Deborah Alabi (WOHS), Austin Bartola (WOHS), Amanda Scalora (WOHS), Frank Paolercio (President, O/WO UNICO). Not Pictured is Ivana Onubogu.

Also pictured are scholarship recipients Bianca Trinidad, Peyton Smith, Amanda Scarlora and Emma Scarlora as they proudly display their citations from Hon. Rodney Frelinghuysen, member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The final photo is of Michael Savagnano, President of Andrea Foods; Scholarship Recipient Austin Bartola; and Frank Gonnella, O/WO UNICO scholarship chairman.