WEST ORANGE, NJ - The Orange/West Orange (O/WO) Chapter of UNICO National held its 2015 Scholarship and Awards Dinner on June 17, at Mayfair Farms. Two UNICO National Scholarship winners were announced and five local area high school students were awarded individual local memorial scholarships. Italian Language Awards were also given to high school students. 

The evening was highlighted by the presentation of two UNICO National Undergraduate Scholarships. Both Kristin Donadio of West Orange, who attends Seton Hall University and Catherine E. Fonseca of Kearny, who attends William Paterson University received the Bernard & Carolyn Torraco Memorial Nursing Scholarships. 

“Both of these fine young women were sponsored by the Orange/West Orange Chapter,” said Frank V Gonnella, O/WO UNICO member.

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Local scholarships in the amount of $1,500 were awarded to the students based on their academic achievements, high school extra-curricular activities, community service, and work experiences. The students were selected by a committee of members that was chaired by Gonnella. Students received the following scholarships: Christian Otto Schmid, Seton Hall Prep – Anthony F. & Flora Gonnella Memorial Scholarship; Anna Lackey, West Orange High School (WOHS) – Vecchio Family Memorial Scholarship; Esther Delvalle, WOHS – O/WO UNICO Scholarship; Abigail Tiu Chua, WOHS – O/WO Scholarship in memory of late chapter member Carmine Molinari; and Daphne Campbell, WOHS – Roseann Townsend Memorial Scholarship. The last scholarship was funded by the DeFranco Family in memory of their late Sister Roseann DeFranco Townsend.

Italian Language Scholarships were also awarded to students for outstanding academic achievement in the Italian Language as selected by their teachers. John Carlo Barone, of Seton Hall Prep received the O/WO UNICO Italian Language Scholarship; and Angelica Alica Pozzoli of WOHS received the Michele & Lucia Russo Italian Language Scholarship. 

The Chapter also donated an additional $30,000 to local and national charities and organizations. On a local level, they included 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 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 the US.