At the Farmingdale School District, it is a time-honored tradition to recognize community members who have made a significant, positive impact. This year was no different. Three new honorees of the Farmingdale community will soon grace Farmingdale High School’s Wall of Fame walls. The 2021 inductees include Mr. Russ Catanzaro (Class of 1970), Dr. Christine Lathuras (Class of 1980), and Ms. Christa Lucarelli (Class of 1987). On Wednesday, April 26th, 2020, an intimate ceremony was held at the Howitt Middle School courtyard. Honorees were joined by family, friends, District Administrators, Town Councilmen, and Board of Education members. The Farmingdale School District graciously extended the invitation to last year’s Wall of Fame nominees as well, whose ceremony was canceled due to COVID. The 2020 inductees are Dr. Maria Elayne DeSimone (Class of 1972), Tracy Vicere (Class of 1991), and Glenn Weiss (Class of 1979). The 2020 inductees received accolades in District publications last year but to have the chance to be honored in person was greatly appreciated.
“The Wall of Fame is not about being the most successful in your career,” said Farmingdale High School Assistant Principal and Chairperson of the Wall of Fame Committee, Jed Herman. “It’s about giving back to the community.”
The District also provided students with the opportunity to get involved in the ceremony. As guests arrived, they were entertained with live music from the Farmingdale High School’s Daler Brass band led by Mr. David Abrams. Journalists from the high school’s newspaper, “The Paper Lion,” interviewed the honorees before the ceremony. Each spoke briefly to the crowd about what they learned and how these recipients inspired them.
“Farmingdale continues to succeed in all ways because of the dedication to the community and the school district,” said Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino. “The town of Oyster Bay is very proud to honor every one of you.”
Mr. Russ Catanzaro, a licensed electrician by trade, serves as a construction project manager for Gannon Vitolo Contracting LLC. He has served in the roles of both vice president and president of the Farmingdale Police Athletic League (PAL) for the past 25 years and is a past recipient of the Nassau County PAL Volunteer Award. During his 12 years as a trustee of the Farmingdale Board of Education, Mr. Catanzaro was integral in ensuring that district-wide construction projects were completed safely, accurately, and within budget. Such improvements included the replacement of all boilers and windows in the district as well as renovations to Farmingdale High School’s bathrooms and locker rooms.
Dr. Christine Lathuras graduated from Farmingdale High School as a four-time Athlete of the Year recipient. She earned her undergraduate degree at Hofstra University, where she was recruited and attended on a basketball scholarship. Dr. Lathuras then attended the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, Gray School of Medicine, and is now a practicing dentist. Dr. Lathuras has traveled to over fifteen countries to provide dental services to the underserved. In addition, she has taught emergency dental procedures to medical providers in refugee camps in Africa. Dr. Lathuras was the recipient of the Waterbury Chamber of Commerce Leadership Award, American Dental Association Volunteer Recognition Award.
Ms. Christa Lucarelli is a librarian at the Farmingdale Public Library. She graduated from Molloy College in 1991 with a B.S. in Education. Ms. Lucarelli then went on to earn her Master in Library Sciences from Queen’s College. In 2002 she was named head of the children’s service department and assumed the role of assistant director in 2010, where she implemented the “Triple P Program”—a program in which students volunteer every week to participate and spend time with their peers with special needs. Ms. Lucarelli received the Town of Oyster Bay Award for the Creator of the Peer Pal Program (Triple P) at the Farmingdale Public Library.
Farmingdale’s Wall of Fame was established to honor distinguished Farmingdale High School alumni now serving as role models for the school community. Located in the FHS lobby, the Wall of Fame is an homage to these community trailblazers and displays plaques for all honorees from years past. Candidates for the Wall of Fame must have graduated from FHS at least ten years ago and have demonstrated success in their chosen professions in the years following their graduation.
For more information about the Farmingdale Union Free School District, please visit the district’s website at https://www.farmingdaleschools.org and like our Facebook page: @FarmingdaleSchoolDistrict.