WEST ORANGE, NJ -- The Orange/West Orange UNICO Chapter held its 2016 Scholarship and Awards Dinner on June 15, 2016 at Mayfair Farms in West Orange.

One UNICO National Scholarship winner was announced and five local area high school students were awarded individual local memorial scholarships. Two Italian Language scholarships were also given to high school students. 

Henry Francis Taibi of Randolph, who will be attending the Rice University School of Architecture, was recognized for receiving the Major Don S. Gentile Memorial UNICO National Undergraduate Scholarships.  The scholarship is in the amount of $6,000 and he was sponsored by the Orange/West Orange Chapter. 

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Local scholarships in the amount of $1,500 each 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 V. Gonnella.

Students received the following scholarships:

  • Joshua Strauss, West Orange HS – Anthony F. & Flora Gonnella Memorial Scholarship
  • John P. Hagan, Jr., Seton Hall Prep – The Vecchio Family Memorial Scholarship
  • Alessandra Pintado, West Orange HS – O/WO UNICO Scholarship in Memory of the Honorable Samuel Spina
  • Jerraune Jenkins, Jr., Seton Hall Prep –O/WO UNICO Scholarship
  • Vincent D’Alessandro, Randolph, NJ – Frank & Carol Cannata Scholarship for the Arts.

Italian Language Scholarships were also awarded to students for outstanding academic achievement in the Italian Language as selected by their teachers.   Toby Ippolito, of Seton Hall Prep received the O/WO UNICO Italian Language Scholarship and Brianna Attamante of West Orange HS received the Michele & Lucia Russo Italian Language Scholarship. 

The evening was also highlighted by the installation of ten (10) new members to the O/WO Chapter of UNICO and President Frank Paolercio also reviewed the Chapter’s year of accomplishments including the successful saving of the Eight Grade Italian Program at West Orange Middle School.

The Chapter donated an additional $30,000 to local and national charities and organizations.  On a local level they included the Clarizo Memorial Fund, 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, the Mayor’s Program for Individuals with Disabilities, Martin Picillo Seton Hall Scholarship and the Employment Horizons. 

On a national level the Chapter donated to the 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.