As seen in The Nutley Journal - printed weekly in Nutley

UNICO lends helping hand via scholarships to many graduating Nutley seniors

Some of the Nutley UNICO scholarship winners from Nutley High, who attended the dinner.
Officers of Nutley Unico.

Non-profit organizations are usually good at one or two things, and tend to work “narrow and deep” due to their mission statements. Here in Nutley, UNICO is a far-reaching, multi-faceted, tireless non-profit, and like a charitable octopus, seems to have its many hard working tentacles always busy - and giving back to the community in many, many ways.

Nutley UNICO is always growing and bustling with new ideas, energetic members and creative endeavors that will benefit many. There is a passion to this organization that is evident at any one of their events.

Dr. Frank Cocchiola, Jr., Past President of Nutley UNICO, wrote in his history of the club that “A group of concerned Nutley men first met in 1953 to discuss ways to develop Italian-American pride and concern for equity.   They called their group the “Columbus Civic Club of Nutley” and met at 351 Passaic Ave.”

Today, this group has changed with the times, but always keeps its core values - to serve the community - front and center. As Cocchiola noted, “today Nutley UNICO is one of the largest chapters in the nation, and in 2002 we were recognized by UNICO National as the Model Chapter in the nation.” 

This year, as every year, besides all the ongoing charitable work this organization does, UNICO studied the files of numerous Nutley High School students, in order to offer something almost every matriculating student needs: scholarship money.

The cost of college is skyrocketing. Education Planner reports “Historically, college costs double every 10 to 12 years. And the costs of college usually rise at a rate faster than inflation and family income.”

These scholarships have been given out to Nutley students for 56 years, and Nutley UNICO has contributed over $417,000 to many students in scholarship awards. Twenty seven scholarships were awarded to seniors attending further education, with three awards given out equally over four years and the other nineteen scholarships given out one time.

AT the festive dinner this year, at the Villa Vittoria’s in Nutley, happy families joined UNICO members, teachers and friends to celebrate these student’s accomplishments. Scholarship Chairman Alan Genitempo said he was happy to see the young students receive help via the UNICO scholarships. Along with Genitempo, 9 other members rounded out the scholarship committee.

This year’s crop of winners was, as always, representative a wide array of interests. Nutley Unico President Phyllis Coldebella, always a cheerful bundle of energy, said the committee to choose the winners work diligently every year, but the hard work is well worth it. From a future physicist to a fashion designer to a cosmetologist to an engineer and more, these Nutley students are to be celebrated.

The Alfred & Anna Biondi Science Scholarship went to Nicholas Cozzarelli; the Vocational Scholarship went to Genna Gingerelli; the Lawrence Costello Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Peter Russo; the Hon. John V. Kelly Memorial Scholarship went to Elisa Pontoriero; artist and senior Stephanie Qunitana received the Amy Bonnadonna Memorial Scholarship, a bittersweet award given by the late Amy’s father and the Mario DiMaggio Math Scholarship went to Angelo Gaeta.