JCCIA Women’s Division – 2012 Scholarship Fashion Show

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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.


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.

Carolyn Lucchese, President
Dr. Mary Ellen Batinich, Chairwoman

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

Elena Frigoletti, President
Josephine Ortale, Chairwoman
Tena Amico, Chairwoman

Ann Yelmini, President
Elena Frigoletti, Chairwoman

Gene Bruno, President
Phyllis Schoene, Chairwoman
Norma Battisti, Chairwoman

Norma Battisti, President
Annette Salvatore, Chairwoman

Phyllis Schoene, President
Josephine Ortale, Chairwoman

Josephine Ortale, President
Josephine Ortale, Chairwoman
Ange Tufano, Chairwoman

Ange Tufano, President
Josephine Ortale, Chairwoman

Jeannine Riotto, President
Marie Davino, Chairwoman

Marie Davino, President
Phyllis Schoene, Chairwoman

Marion Ortale, President
Judy Guzaldo, Chairwoman

Judy Guzaldo, President
Joanne Spata, Chairwoman

Joanne Spata, President
Frances Passaglia, Chairwoman

Mary Ann Ciolfi, President
Tomasina Perry, Chairwoman

Frances Passaglia, President
Diana Krantz, Chairwoman

Tomasina Perry, President
Helen Andolino, Chairwoman

Helen Andolino, President
Gina Scalafani, Chairwoman
Carmela Lappo, Chairwoman

Gina Scalafani, President
Velda Davino, Chairwoman
Regina Scannicchio, Chairwoman

Velda Davino, President
Lilia Leonardi Juarez, Chairwoman
Josette Mentesana Weber, Chairwoman

Lilia Leonardi Juarez, President
Rose Mary Ranallo, Chairwoman
Francesca Salvi, Chairwoman

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.

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