Antonio Varacalli Day in Seneca Falls

When Antonio Varacalli, an Italian immigrant working in Seneca Falls, saw a woman drowning in the Cayuga and Seneca Barge Canal on April 12, 1917, he immediately jumped in to rescue her. Although Antonio saved her life, he drowned. Antonio’s extraordinary civilian heroism was recognized posthumously with a bronze Carnegie Hero Fund Medal.The Town of Seneca Falls will remember Antonio Varacalli by honoring and celebrating our community’s heroes on April 11, 2015. The event, which will begin with a ceremony on the Bridge Street Bridge at 1 pm, will include a reading of the Antonio Varacalli Day Proclamation, a Heroes Blessing by Father Fennessy of St. Patrick’s Church, presentations by local historians Walt Gable & Fran Caraccilo, and the ringing of The Bells of Bedford Falls. The first annual Antonio Varacalli Hero Award will be presented to Mickey Dellafave of Seneca Falls. “Mickey is a Special Hero with a heart and smile as big as the community she is committed to,” noted Rosanne Knight who nominated her. “Her focus is on what is important to you, not to herself.” The award recognizes Mickey’s volunteer work for Rumseyville, St. Anthony’s Committee and St. Patrick’s Parish, as well as the kind things she has done for friends, family and others. “We are thrilled to be giving the First Annual Antonio Varacalli Hero Award to Mickey Dellefave. She is an example of selfless giving to the community she lives in” said Chris Podzuweit of the It’s a Wonderful Life/Antonio Varacalli Day Committee. “This year our annual celebration will be the largest yet with many additional local heroes being honored as well.”Five Community Angel Awards will be presented to persons nominated by their respective organizations. Chosen for outstanding service, these individuals embody the spirit of Antonio Varacalli. Receiving the Community Angel Awards are: Dave Markel, Seneca Falls Rotary; Karen Simon, Seneca County Habitat for Humanity; Sgt. Craig Reynolds, Seneca Falls Police Dept.; Sharon Snover, House of Concern; and Cmdr. Mike Gallina, VFW Post 1323.Mynderse Academy’s Unsung Hero Awards, will be presented by U.S. Army SSG Michael P. O’Brien to six students who in the eyes of the teachers who nominated them exemplify the heroism of Antonio Varacalli. The recipients are: Seniors: Jacob McGhan, Robert Hare, Valerie Tuttle Junior: Samantha ImpastatoSophomore: Ericka WalshFreshman: Michelle HornEncouraged by Principal Amy Hibbard, more than 50 students from Elizabeth Cady Stanton School participated in this year’s Hero Essay contest, sponsored by the It’s A Wonderful Life Committee. Three winning essays and one honorable mention on the topic “Why are Heroes Important?” were chosen for each grade.Prizes and certificates will be awarded on the bridge and all of the submitted essays will be displayed on the Wall of Heroes at the Seneca Falls Community Center during the Ziti Dinner, Saturday following the ceremony. After Saturday, the winning essays will be on display at Women’s Rights National Historical Park through the end of April.First Place• 3rd grade – Bianca Heatwole Teacher – Kacie Vitalone• 4th grade – Haley Mosch Teacher – Melissa Caswell• 5th grade – Liam Reilly Teacher – Catherine HarrisSecond Place• 3rd grade – Lauren Wylie Teacher – Jessica Passalacqua• 4th grade – Madison Pulsipher Teacher – Scott Sciera• 5th grade – Yahniece Harris Teacher – Catherine HarrisThird Place• 3rd grade – Thomas Micio Teacher – Stephanie Bertino• 4th grade – Ella Wirth Teacher – Michelle Marconi• 5th grade – Bridget Miller Teacher – Nicole Hubbell Honorable Mention• 3rd grade – Jose Francalancia• 4th grade – Mikaela Smith• 5th grade – Maranda MarrThe Winning Essays —— as written by the students Hero’s I think a hero is someone who helps, saves, or protects people. I have some hero’s in my family.My dad helped a little girl who was drowning in the water. He ran into the water and saved the girl.My mom saved my life when I was 6 months old. I was choking on something and she saved my life. Another time, I was camping and about to open the door to our RV, when I slipped and was hanging from the door. My mom got me down from the door before I fell down and broke something.My cousins, Zachery and Alex, both work at a hospital and save peoples’ lives every day. My grampa’s, who are in heaven, fought in World War II to protect our country.One night, somebody tried to break into our house. My dogs, midnight and Cisco, woke up and started barking wildly. In the morning, my mom and dad noticed the back gate was open, so they knew someone tried to brake in, but were scared away by my dogs.I believe anybody can be a hero if they help, save, or protect people. I have hero’s in my family.by Bianca Heatwole Grade 3***** Why Are Heroes Important? I believe everyone has a hero. My hero is Martin Luther King Jr. He is my hero because he made some differences that are important to me. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for change. He fought for African Americans to have the same rights as white people. He was brave and inspiring to me by fighting for what he believed in. Martin Luther King Jr. made a difference by showing many acts of kindness and was quite remarkable. I sometimes imagine how white people would feel if they didn’t have rights and had to fight for them.All heroes are important because they think about others before themselves. Heroes make the world a better place, just like martin Luther King Jr did. We remember him as someone who fought for equal rights for African Americans.by Haley Mosch Grade 4*****Why are heroes important? Most people know who their hero is but what the majority of people dont know is why are heros important?First of all a hero is someone who always does the right thing. A hero isnt always someone who can lift cars like pebbles or fly around cities looking for bad guys. Heros are more like people who put other people over themselves. For example a hero is very important because if for some reason they had a choice to have endless money or save someones life the hero would help save the person. Also some of the most common heros probably live in your area. Police officers, some people underestimate the police and say there not heros and stuff like that, long story short they dont give them the credit they deserve. Because if one night they are called out they could be injured or even killed. Most people say theres no such thing as heroes, however Im not one of those people. Just because there isnt an actual superhero Power Puff girls doesnt mean theres not someone who would do anything to help other people.Acually my Grandfather was a hero. He was soldier in the Vietnam War. When most kids his age went to college he was called off to war at 19 years old. It probably was scary for him. He was a helicopter pilot that had been shot down and still lived. He was also shot several times and for his acts I consider him a hero.To me a hero goes beyond the call of duty and never gives up no matter what.by Liam Reilly Grade 5 *****Also displayed on the Wall of Heroes will be essays from 30 Mynderse Academy students. English teacher Matthew Bienvenue, inspired by the theme “A Celebration of Heroes”, challenged his 9-12 grade students to write on the topic of heroes. “I would like to make this a yearly project for my students” said Bienvenue, “I think it’s great to have them stop and think about serving others and, more notably, why it is important to do so.”Joining the ceremony this year will be the Seneca Singers performing songs from the era under the direction of Doug Avery. The event will continue with a flower ceremony and conclude with the Parade of Heroes, led by members of the Police Department, to the Wall of Heroes at the Community Center, 35 Water Street. A ziti dinner will be available at the Community Center from 1 – 3 pm with eat-in and take-out service available. Live Italian music will be performed by Paolo & Felice from Auburn, New York. Felix Mucedola, on accordion, and Paul Saltarello, on mandolin have been performing and singing traditional Italian-American melodies for over 30 years. Ziti dinners are $10 each, or $5 for children under 12. Dinner tickets may be purchased in advance at the Downtown Deli – 53 Fall St., The S.F. Visitor Center – 89 Fall St., Blossoms by Cosentino – 106 Fall St. and Sinicropi Florist – 64 Fall St., or at the door.Antonio Varacalli Day is sponsored in part by SMS Club of Seneca Falls, Nonni’s Italian Imports, Little Italy Restaurant, the Sandroni Family and the Seneca Falls Business Association in conjunction with the It’s A Wonderful Life – Antonio Varacalli Day Committee.

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