Paolo Busti awards dinner after two years | Featured story

BATAVIA – Better late than never.

Former Batavia resident Ray San Fratello was named Outstanding Italian-American by the Paolo Busti Cultural Foundation in 2020.

The annual awards dinner has been cancelled, however, as was the case last year.

The ceremony is back this year, and the foundation will finally be able to honor San Fratello, as well as three scholarship-winning students at the dinner, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. on June 14 in Terry Hills.

San Fratello has long served Batavia and Genesee County.

After graduating from Notre Dame High School, San Fratello graduated from Erie County Technical Institute and Buffalo State University with majors in metallurgy, chemistry, and psychology.

He was also a graduate of the University of Delaware, where he studied at the United States Chamber Institutes for Organizational Management. He also took the Dale Carnegie course.

San Fratello worked as assistant director of recreation for the city of Batavia and served as president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. He also worked at the South Lake Chamber of Commerce in Clermont, Florida.

San Fratello was a member of St. Anthony’s Church, attended St. Anthony’s School, and credits his strong faith in God to his accomplishments and his desire to volunteer and make a difference. He is a Foundation Fellow and former member of the St. Nicholas Social Club.

He has also served in the Jaycees and has served on the Board of Trustees of the Notre Dame Foundation, New York, the Genesee Leadership Steering Committee, the “Genesee 2000” Strategic Plan Task Force, the Board of Trustees of Batavia Development Corp., Director of Men’s Softball for the City of Batavia. League, Junior Girls Fast Softball Coach, Junior Boys Hockey Coach, Business Education Alliance Board of Directors, GLOW Counties-School to Work Program Board of Directors, and Chamber Alliance of NYS.

In Florida, his community service continued with Blessed Sacrament Church, Habitat for Humanity, Little League, and United Chambers of Commerce.

San Fratello said growing up in Batavia in a neighborhood made up of large Italian and Polish families like hers “rooted us together, taught me the importance of family – immediate and extended – how to be resilient, believe in team spirit, and to realize and appreciate all that has been given to us and how we must give it to keep the spirit of our parents and grandparents alive through the generations.

Three students will also be honored on June 14:

not Alexandria Root, senior at Hilton High School, daughter of Joel and Roxanne Root of Churchville. Alexandria’s grandparents are Diane Beradini Martino and the late Carmine (Jerry) Martino of Batavia.

Alexandria plans to major in biology at Nazareth College with a minor in dance. Her goal is to go to medical school and study neurosurgery.

Alexandria has received the Honor Roll of Academic Merit by maintaining a GPA of 95 or higher for four years in high school, the President’s Education Award, Salutary Honor Band, National Honor Society, and Society Honorary Spaniard. She participated in the International Club, the After School Book Club and the Environmental Club.

Her volunteer hours include serving as an altar server at her church, St. Vincent DePaul, and helping with the children’s liturgy for students in grades 8-10. She participated in the Best Buddies program. She currently runs the library for the Monroe County Probation Family Services Division, dances for a cause with churches and special events, helps with her dance studio, and is a class assistant at the village elementary school.

The values ​​of Alexandria were acquired in an Italian-American home.

“I have a strong work ethic and want to succeed in all aspects of my life,” she said. “I have seen my family work incredibly hard to live a fulfilling life.”

not Matthew Smith, son of Jason and Lori Smith, grandson of Mary Calarco-Smith and James Smith.

A senior at Batavia High School, Smith will attend Nazareth College in the fall of 2022. He is enrolled in Nazareth College’s physical therapy program.

Matthew wants to work in an outpatient clinic and stay local, helping his community after graduation.

Matthew has been an active volunteer in the Batavia community, delivering for Meals on Wheels and Link Crew, and teaching second graders at Resurrection Parish for Reconciliation. Matthew also checks on the neighbors to see if they need help. He volunteered for Make a Difference Day at the local Habitat for Humanity house.

Smith has been accepted into the National Honor Society from 2019 to present, serves as that group’s vice president, student government from 2019 to present as a class representative. Matthew has been on the honor roll for four consecutive years, maintaining an overall average of 95%.

Matt is a member of the BHS varsity program, which includes cross country, indoor track, golf and athletics. Member of the Ski Club and Tri-M. He also participates in the Batavia High School Band and the Pit Orchestra.

Matthew’s love for his Italian heritage is proven in his statement: “Growing up Italian is nothing but amazing! I couldn’t imagine not spending as much time with my family as I do!”

not Lucia Sprague, a student at Notre Dame de Batavia High School, ranks third in her class.

Lisa Sprague, the Italian heritage of Lucia’s mother, is a long line of Rapone and Pangrazio. They are residents of Le Roy.

Due to Lucia’s passion for art, she applied to Colgate University to pursue her studies as a film/media major.

She is a member of the National Honor Society and the College Board National Hispanic Recognition Program.

Lucia has been recognized for her leadership at the HOBY Hugh O’Brien Youth Conference and the Genesee County Youth Bureau Conference. She has received the RIT Medal of Honor in Computer Science, the Wells College 21st Century Leadership Award, St. Michael’s College Book Award in Academic Achievement And Social Conference, and the U of R Leadership Award.

She participated in varsity cheerleading, varsity swimming, student senate, the Genesee County Envirothon team, choir, school plays, and the Yearbook Club. She also participated in DECA-Region 10 Winner, State Medalist Apparel & Accessories Marketing.

Lucia volunteers for Our Lady of Mercy Parish for various church activities, distributes the Paulo Busti Cultural Foundation newsletter, and picks up leaves at the local cemetery.

Lucia’s thought of her Italian heritage is reminiscent of her youth when she recalls her family dancing the Tarantella. She said: “I know why my family looked so happy, it was a representation of our culture and everything we learned about our family throughout our lives.”

Dinner tickets are $35 and can be purchased from a board member or at Ben’s Appliance on East Main Street.

The Foundation will also have tickets available for purchase for its 20/20 fall draw, which supports its graduate scholarships. Students who received scholarships in 2020 and 2021 are invited to attend and will receive a free dinner ticket and recognition. Contact Michèle Fuller at (585) 750-6350.

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