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Italian American Cultural Club awards scholarships

RECEIVE SCHOLARSHIPS — Recipients of scholarships recently awarded by the Italian American Cultural Club and shown with club President Frankie DiCarlantonio, right, are, from left, Luke Anderson, Bailey Penner, Ryle Dondzila, Mia Neary, Angelina Balzano, Gabriella Kosegi and Hannah Olszewski. -- Contributed

STEUBENVILLE — Frankie DiCarlantonio, president of the Italian American Cultural Club, has announced that the nonprofit organization has issued its scholarships as a part of its 2020 program.

“Each year, the Italian American Cultural Club is proud to award a minimum of five scholarships to either high school seniors who are furthering their education at an accredited institution or students who are considered freshmen in their current program to continue said education,” DiCarlantonio said. “But this year, we were able to give away a total of eight scholarships because of the generosity of some known and surprise community support.”

Each year, the Petrella family of Steubenville donates $1,000 to award a scholarship in memory of their husband/father, Craig Petrella, who died in 2016.

“As a surprise, I was contacted by an anonymous donor in the Steubenville area, and this individual was kind enough to donate $2,000 to award two scholarships in memory of Alphonse and Mary Ann Ruggieri each year, starting in 2020,” DiCarlantonio said. Ruggieri is remembered for his long-term leadership of the Italian American Cultural Club as well as his weekly radio show, the “Neopolitan Serenade,” that DiCarlantonio now hosts weekly on River Talk Radio under the title of “L’Ora Italiana.” “We cannot thank this donor enough. Because of their immediate generosity, we were able to award a total of eight scholarships this year, meaning that 100 percent of the students who had applied have received a scholarship.”

The Italian American Cultural Club is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose purpose is “Keeping the (Italian) Culture Alive/” The club focuses on this mission by creating networking opportunities for Italians in the Steubenville area to celebrate their shared heritage as well as focusing on educating the youth of the Steubenville area about the Italian heritage, according to DiCarlantonio. Two of the keynote programs that the club hosts to accomplish is a yearly scholarship program and “Campo Italiano,” a week-long day camp at which children learn the Italian culture, language and history.

“My grandparents immigrated to the United States in the 1950s to the Ohio Valley area. I am honored and fortunate that I grew up in a very deeply rooted Italian family who celebrated our culture in so many ways,” DiCarlantonio said. “As years go by, younger children may not have that same situation, and we do our part to connect them with their ancestor’s culture, language and history that is so widely appreciated and enjoyed throughout the world.”

Scholarships are awarded thanks to the generosity and the hard work of the club’s members through their own personal donations of dues and other contributions, corporate contributions from throughout the Ohio Valley, fundraisers that the club hosts throughout the year and the generosity of certain individuals who “are kind enough to sponsor an entire scholarship in memory of their loved ones,” he added.

The club’s 2020 scholarship recipients are:

— Luke Anderson, with a scholarship given in memory Alphonse and Mary Ann Ruggieri, has graduated in 2020 from Catholic Central High School and will be attending Kent State University, where he will study exercise science and physical therapy.

— Angelina Balzano, with a scholarship given in memory of Nial and Dorothy Pashke, has graduated in 2020 from CCHS and will be attending Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she will study biology with a pre-health concentration.

— Madeline Brown, with a scholarship given in memory of Craig Petrella, graduated in 2019 from Harper Creek High School and is attending St. Mary’s College to study chemistry and will advance to the University of Notre Dame, where she will study chemical engineering.

— Gabriella Kosegi, with a scholarship in memory of Stephen and Marge Koslik, graduated in 2020 from CCHS and will be attending the University of Akron, where she will be studying early childhood education.

— Ryle Dondzila, with a scholarship in memory of Helen Carrocci, graduated in 2020 from Indian Creek High School and will be attending Muskingum University to study respiratory therapy and minor in communications.

— Mia Neary, with a scholarship in memory of Edna Michetti, graduated in 2020 from CCHS and will be attending Franciscan University of Steubenville where she will be studying pre-physical therapy with studies focused in biology.

– Bailey Penner, with a scholarship in memory of Alphonse and Mary Ann Ruggieri, graduated in 2020 from ICHS and will be attending Malone University to study exercise science and continuing his baseball career.

— Hannah Olszewski, with a scholarship in memory of Rudy Marcozzi, graduated in 2020 from CCHS and will be attending Walsh University where she will study nursing.

“I wish the scholarship recipients and the entire class of 2020 who are furthering their education at an accredited institution the best of luck in their future,” DiCarlantonio said. “2020 has been an unprecedented year for everyone, including our high school seniors. Although their year and their high school education did not end in an ideal way, my wish is that the best for them is yet to come in so many ways, and they will look back as they enter their careers and lives with 2020 as a stepping stone for the rest of their lives.”

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