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JCCIA Women’s Division – 2012 Scholarship Fashion Show

I love history. The history I enjoy the most is about our Italian community. April brings the Scholarship Fashion Show sponsored each year by the JCCIA Women’s Division. The fashion show began with a tea on May 26, 1966, at the Chateau Royale, owned by Mrs. Serafina Ferrara, a businesswoman who also owned Ferrara Pastries. She was a benefactor so generous that she was dubbed “The Angel of Taylor Street.” In this column I would like to salute the women who 46 years ago dedicated their time and financial resources to promote the welfare and education of young Italian women.

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In his book “Organizing the Ethnic Community,” Anthony Sorrentino, the first executive director of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, wrote the following:

An overflow crowd attended the tea, which was addressed by Vincent E. Ferraro (the JCCIA president at the time) and Congressman Frank Annunzio. In his keynote address, Congressman Annunzio spoke on the history of women’s clubs, their power as a group, their value to society, and how they could be a powerful force in the Italian community. He was convinced that women could play a significant role in helping to achieve the goals of the organization.

To encourage young women of Italian extraction in their pursuit of higher education, the Women’s Division started to offer college scholarships. The first chairwoman of this committee was Dr. Batinich, who served for several years. In 1970, Josephine Ortale was appointed chairwoman by then-president Elena Frigoletti. The award, which started at $200, was soon increased to $500 and subsequently to $1,000, going to three or four students each year. The awards have been presented at the women’s annual spring luncheon, usually attended by 300 women.

1966-1967
Carolyn Lucchese, President
Dr. Mary Ellen Batinich, Chairwoman

1968-1969
Ann Sorrentino, President
Dr. Mary Ellen Batinich, Chairwoman
Tena Amico, Chairwoman

1970-1971
Elena Frigoletti, President
Josephine Ortale, Chairwoman
Tena Amico, Chairwoman

1972-1973
Ann Yelmini, President
Elena Frigoletti, Chairwoman

1974-1975
Gene Bruno, President
Phyllis Schoene, Chairwoman
Norma Battisti, Chairwoman

1976-1977
Norma Battisti, President
Annette Salvatore, Chairwoman

1978-1979
Phyllis Schoene, President
Josephine Ortale, Chairwoman

1980-1981
Josephine Ortale, President
Josephine Ortale, Chairwoman
Ange Tufano, Chairwoman

1982-1983
Ange Tufano, President
Josephine Ortale, Chairwoman

1984-1985
Jeannine Riotto, President
Marie Davino, Chairwoman

1986-1987
Marie Davino, President
Phyllis Schoene, Chairwoman

1988-1989
Marion Ortale, President
Judy Guzaldo, Chairwoman

1990-1991
Judy Guzaldo, President
Joanne Spata, Chairwoman

1992-1993
Joanne Spata, President
Frances Passaglia, Chairwoman

1994-1995
Mary Ann Ciolfi, President
Tomasina Perry, Chairwoman

1996-1997
Frances Passaglia, President
Diana Krantz, Chairwoman

1998-1999
Tomasina Perry, President
Helen Andolino, Chairwoman

2000-2001
Helen Andolino, President
Gina Scalafani, Chairwoman
Carmela Lappo, Chairwoman

2002-2003
Gina Scalafani, President
Velda Davino, Chairwoman
Regina Scannicchio, Chairwoman

2004-2005
Velda Davino, President
Lilia Leonardi Juarez, Chairwoman
Josette Mentesana Weber, Chairwoman

2006-2007
Lilia Leonardi Juarez, President
Rose Mary Ranallo, Chairwoman
Francesca Salvi, Chairwoman

2008-2012
Rose Mary Ranallo, President
Carmela Capriati, Chairwoman
Sara Ingraffia, Chairwoman

Ct1DUgLW0lZ7tc0NHi-y-JQgn6CGzsfPL6XU8p8FD7ESince the onset of this philanthropic endeavor, there have been over 230 recipients of the generosity of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans Women’s Division.

This year “Puttin’ On The Ritz” will be held on Wednesday, April 25, at Drury Lane in Oak Brook Terrace. Boutiques begin at 4:30 followed by scholarship presentations at 7, then the dinner and fashion show. Carmela Capriati is the Chairwoman and the donation is $55. The Scholarships are now presented at $2,000 each for a minimum of four high school seniors of Italian descent. Carmela has promised us an exciting evening that will allow you to escape into glamour.

The JCCIA fashion show presented by the Women’s Division is a very important and popular event each year. Call the office at 708-450-9050 for more information. Join us in keeping a part of the tradition going. We salute Marie Palello, Ange Tufano and Tena Amico, who attended that first tea in 1966 and are still a viable part of our organization. Your presence that evening recognizes the dedication of those gone before us who fostered our legacy by enabling Italian-American girls to attain a higher education.

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Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.