YORKTOWN, N.Y. - Circolo da Vinci, a nonprofit Yorktown organization that promotes Italian-American heritage, awarded scholarships Thursday, May 8, to 10 area high school seniors. 

The 37th annual scholarship dinner was held at Vittoria’Z On The Lake in Jefferson Valley.

This year’s scholarship award recipients were: Roger Cirone (Yorktown High School); Michael Gajdoski (Lakeland High School); Daniela Patrino (Lakeland High School); Emily DeRos (Yorktown High School); Thomas Megna (John Jay High School); Olivia Frantzeskos (John F. Kennedy Catholic High School); Jenna Vitale (Mahopac High School); Dante Esposito (Yorktown High School); Christina Ruvo (Yorktown High School); and Michael Ruvo (Yorktown High School).

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Joseph Straci was named this year’s honoree and received the Person of the Year Award.

Born in Tunisia to Italian immigrants, Straci relocated to the United States in 1954 with his family. In addition to a 50-plus year career at the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Straci dedicated much of his time to community service.

During his tenure as president of the Yorktown Lions Club, the club helped promote and construct the gazebo at the Jack DeVito Veterans Memorial Field. He initiated the town’s Summer Concert Series as its producer and director, helped install the Yorktown Lions Club board on the corners of Route 202 and Route 35, and received the club’s “Melvin Jones Award.”

As a founding member of the Jack DeVito Foundation, Straci was instrumental in raising funds for the organization’s mission to “assist those in need with a primary focus on children and young adults.” He is also on the board of directors of the South Bronx Mental Health Council and an active member of the Puerto Rican Family Institute.

Straci was also a charter member and president of Circolo da Vinci, for which he orchestrated many fundraisers.

Straci currently lives in Croton-on-Hudson with his wife, Carol.