The Paolo Busti Cultural Foundation Scholarship Awards Dinner will return on Tuesday, June 14 at 6:30 p.m. after a two-year hiatus.
The Foundation is excited to be able to celebrate their heritage together again. It promises to be a wonderful evening of friendship, pride, and, of course, delicious Italian food.
The dinner will be hosted at Terry Hills Restaurant.
Tickets are $35.00 and may be purchased from board members and Ben’s Appliance, East Main St. Batavia.
The Foundation will also have tickets available to purchase for our Fall 20/20 Raffle, supporting our Senior Scholarships. Students who received Scholarships in 2020 and 2021 are invited to attend and will receive a complimentary dinner ticket and recognition. Please contact Michele Fuller at (585) 750-6350.
The Foundation is pleased to honor our 2022 Outstanding Italian-American Ray San Fratello at this year's awards.
Outstanding Italian-American 2022 - Ray San Fratello
After graduation from Notre Dame High School, Ray earned a degree from Erie County Technical Institute and Buffalo State University with majors in Metallurgy, Chemistry and Psychology.
Ray was also a graduate of the University of Delaware, where he studied US Chamber Institutes for Organizational Management. He also completed the Dale Carnegie course.
Ray worked as the City of Batavia's Assistant Recreation Director and was the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce president. He also worked at the South Lake Chamber of Commerce in Clermont, Fla.
Ray was a member of St. Anthony’s Church, attended St. Anthony’s School
and attributes his strong faith in God for his accomplishments and desire to
volunteer and make a difference.
Ray performed community service in both New York and Florida.
In New York, Ray is a Paolo Busti Cultural Foundation member and was a former member of the St. Nicholas Social Club.
Ray’s community service in New York was extensive. It included: Batavia Area Jaycees, Notre Dame High School Foundation Board, Leadership Genesee Steering Committee, “Genesee 2000” Strategic Plan Task Force, Batavia Development Corp. Board of Directors, Director of City of Batavia Men’s Softball League, Girls Youth Fast Pitch Softball Coach, Boys Youth Hockey coach, Business Education Alliance Board of Directors, GLOW Counties-School to Work Program Board of Directors and Chamber Alliance of NYS Board of Directors.
In Florida, Ray’s community service continued with Blessed Sacrament Church, Habitat for Humanity, Little League, and United Chambers of Commerce.
Ray feels strongly it was growing up in Batavia in a neighborhood composed of large Italian and Polish close-knit families like his. The Italian and Polish cultures “that rooted us together, taught me the importance of family -- immediate as well as extended -- how to be resilient, believe in team spirit, and to realize and appreciate how much was given to us and how we need to pay that forward to keep the spirit of our parents and grandparents alive through the generations” that guided him through the years.
Alexandria Root, a 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 attend medical school and study Neurosurgery.
Alexandria has been awarded Academic Merit Honor Roll maintaining a GPA of 95 or above for four years of High School, the President's Education Award, Salutatory Honor Group, National Honor Society, and Spanish Honor Society. She participated in the International Club, the After School Book Club, and Environmental Club.
Her volunteer hours consist of being an altar server at her church, St. Vincent DePaul, and has assisted in children’s liturgy for 8th thru 10th graders. She was involved in the Best Buddies program. She is presently running the library at the family services division at Monroe County Probation, Dancing for a Cause with churches and special events, assisting at her dance studio, and classroom assistant at Village Elementary School.
Alexandria's values were acquired in an Italian-American household.
“I have a strong work ethic and desire to succeed in all aspects of my life," she said. "I have witnessed my family working incredibly hard to live a fulfilling life."
Matthew Smith, son of Jason and Lori Smith, Grandson of Mary Calarco-Smith and James Smith.
A senior at Batavia High School, Smith will be attending Nazareth College in the Fall of 2022. He is enrolled in the physical therapy program at Nazareth College.
Matthew desires to work at an outpatient clinic and remain local, helping his community after graduation.
Matthew has been actively volunteering in the Batavia community, delivering for Meals on Wheels, and the Link Crew, and teaching second-grade students at Resurrection parish in preparation for Reconciliation. Matthew also checks in on neighbors to see if they need any assistance. He volunteered for Make a Difference Day at the local Habitat for Humanity house.
Smith was accepted into the National Honor Society 2019 to present, is vice president of that group, student government from 2019 to present as a class representative. Matthew has been on the High Honor Roll for four consecutive years, maintaining a 95 percent overall average.
Matt is a member of the varsity program at BHS, which includes cross country, indoor track, golf, and track and field. A member of Ski Club and Tri-M. He also participates in the Batavia High School Band and Pit Orchestra.
Matthew’s love for his Italian Heritage is proven in his statement, “Growing up Italian is nothing but incredible! I could not imagine not spending as much time with my family as I do!”
Lucia Sprague, a senior at Notre Dame High School, Batavia, ranks 3rd in her class.
Lisa Sprague, Lucia’s mother’s Italian Heritage, is a long line of Rapone’s and Pangrazio’s. They are residents of LeRoy.
Because of Lucia’s passion for art, she has applied to Colgate University to continue her education 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 leadership at the HOBY Hugh O’Brien Youth conference and the Genesee County Youth Bureau Conference. She received the Computing Medal of Honor from RIT, Wells College 21st Century Leadership Award, St. Michael’s College Book Award in Academic Achievement And Social Conference, and U of R Leadership Award.
She has participated in varsity cheerleading, varsity swimming, Student Senate, Genesee County Envirothon Team, chorus, school plays, and Yearbook Club. Also, she participated in DECA-Region 10 Winner, State Medalist Apparel & Accessories Marketing.
Lucia volunteers for Our Lady of Mercy Parish for various church activities, is a Paulo Busti Cultural Foundation newsletter distributer, and rakes leaves at the local cemetery.
Lucia’s thought of her Italian Heritage is a remembrance from 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’ve learned about our family throughout our lives."