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June 22, 2012

 

‘Parge’ Scholarship run is over

By TANEY BEAUMONT
Staff Writer

After 20 years, the Greg Partigianoni Scholarship program has ended.
The cash stipend was sponsored by Butch Maniccia, the owner of the Red Dragon Restaurant, and a total of $32,000 was given out in the 20 years of the award’s existence. It went annually to a senior player on the Cortland High baseball squad who, through an application process, was chosen for best exemplifying the academic and athletic qualities of the late Cortland High and SUNY Binghamton player who succumbed to leukemia in 1990.
“The people in the Cortland-Homer area and the local businesses gave us tremendous support for 20 years,” said Lum Cooper, the co-chairman, along with Maniccia, of the scholarship committee. “This is why this area is such a great place to live and raise a family. People always step up to make good things happen for the young people in our community.
“The local business owners, our friends and neighbors, deserve special recognition in support of their contributions. We should shop locally and support them as well.”
“At first I had mixed feelings,” Angie Partigianoni, Greg’s mother, said of the scholarship ending. “But then I heard that most scholarships only last three or four years, and this one has lasted 20. I said, ‘It’s time.’
“It’s overwhelming. It seems like I’ve gained 20 kids who are mine. When they get married, they call me. When they have babies, they call me. It’s just wonderful. Many of them came back every year for the presentation.”
She noted that she has a small bound booklet, given to her by Christine Williamson, in which she has 3-by-5 pictures of each of the honorees, including Williamson’s son Trevor, who won in 2009.
Cooper, who jointly with Maniccia said that: “If we have helped Greg’s recipients in any way, that’s our reward,” and noted that he, Maniccia and the committee call the scholarship recipients “Angie’s Boys.”
He added that “Every recipient has told me that it’s the award that is the most meaningful to them.”
Three members of the scholarship committee — Mick Lowie, Dick Meldrim and Al Stockholm, close friends of Greg Partigianoni — served all 20 years. Others who served include former Cortland Standard sports editor Jere Dexter, John Pilato, Larry Brady, Ed Griswold, Greg’s brother Mike Partigianoni and 1993 honoree Matt Rohde.
“These gentlemen did a fantastic job each year, as witnessed by the caliber of young men they selected to receive Greg’s award,” Cooper said. “They were determined to get it right each year. Approximately 90 percent of the recipients have received or will receive their college degrees within the next couple of years.”
“The thing that stands out,” said Maniccia, “is the willingness of all of Greg’s friends to come together and make the scholarship a success by giving of their time.”
Maniccia first decided to honor his close friend in 1991 and asked many of Greg’s other friends to come together and formulate a plan. The Greg Partigianoni Scholarship came out of the resulting meeting and was first presented at the 1992 Cortland High commencement to Seth Montgomery in the amount of $1,000. The scholarship was increased to $2,000 in 2000, with Brett Seyfried the recipient.
The main fundraising event for the scholarship was the Greg Partigianoni Golf Tournament, which took place in September each year at Elm Tree and attracted between 100 and 120 players. The golf was followed by an awards dinner at the Red Dragon at which, Cooper noted, each participant was awarded a prize through the generosity of local businesses and individuals. On behalf of Maniccia, the Red Dragon, the scholarship committee and himself, he thanked everyone who participated in the tournament over its 20 years.
A 1975 graduate of Cortland High and a member of the National Honor Society, Greg Partigianoni attended then-SUNY Binghamton and played baseball there, starting the school’s alumni game in 1984. He was a coach at his alma mater as well as SUNY Cortland (compiling a record of 53-32-1 as head coach from 1984-86) and Ohio State,
receiving his Masters from the latter and also working with the Columbus Clippers of the International League.
He was the first head coach of the Cortland Apples in what was then known as the Northeast Collegiate Baseball League, managing the league’s 1984 all-star squad in Syracuse against a U.S. Olympic team that featured Mark McGwire and Ken Caminiti. Partigianoni was pitching coach at Cornell under the late head coach Ted Thoren from 1986-90 and had been hand-selected by Thoren to replace him as head coach in 1991, but passed away on Oct. 6, 1990.
Cortland High retired his uniform number (5), as did the Cortland Apples (28), and the scholarship and a memorial baseball tournament, which is ongoing and hosted by the Purple Tigers each spring, were started in his honor.
The winners of the Partigianoni Scholarship, in order starting in 1992, were Seth Montgomery, Matt Rohde, Mike Reeners, Nick Leopardi, Joe Meldrim, Matt Pearsall, Chris Poli, Adam Cincotta, Brett Seyfried, Shawn Collyer, Brendan Byrnes, Brandon Galutz, Jared Wood, Mike Avery, John Sinsabaugh, Anthony Pitts, Steve Wright, Trevor Williamson, Justin Burns and Alex Stacy.
“It was said when the scholarship was established: ‘To recognize a young man in Greg’s name is the highest honor,’” Cooper said. “These young men have honored us also because of their dedication as student-athletes who performed both in the classroom and on the playing field. I’m not sure there is a group of 20 young men as good as these recipients.”

 

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