By: Marina Siskos
The annual Bronx Columbus Day Parade, which takes place in Morris Park, an Italian enclave, highlights and celebrates the heritage of the plethora of proud Italian-Americans. Preston was able to participate in this year’s 42nd annual Columbus Day Parade, especially to show support for Gina Dinicuolo, a senior and this year's Miss Columbus. Gina emphasizes that this experience allowed her to celebrate her Italian roots and further remarks that “It was fun seeing my friends and family, and I feel this was a good experience because it makes me proud of my Italian heritage”. What she takes away from winning is that she is grateful to be honored as Miss Columbus Day and cherishes her Italian origin in a new way. In addition to her win, Gina was awarded with a scholarship from the Generoso Pope Foundation, which also provided her dress and crown. Preston’s Italian teacher, Ms. DeMaio, further adds that Preston’s involvement in the Miss Columbus competition initially began in 2009 when she received a notification and decided to enroll one of her students.. She stressed that even though this is primarily a beauty pageant, the judges also take the nominees' one’s leadership involvement, extracurriculars, and volunteer work. She further mentioned that Preston’s consecutive wins are due to Preston girls fulfilling and exceeding all the requirements.
When asked for her thoughts regarding Gina's reign as Miss Columbus, Ms. DeMaio enthusiastically remarked that she fully deserved it, as exemplified by her work ethic and pride in her Italian heritage.
By: Zoe Zapata
The Preston High School community lives and breathes compassion through its many fundraising events. One of the most prominent sources of compassion is the famous club, Compassion Connection. Led by Mrs. Dekajlo, the club is among the most popular and one of the most active in the school. It has over 100 members who assist Mrs. Dekajlo in several events such as the Food Drive, making sandwiches for the poor, and many more. This year, Compassion Connection hopes to exceed its previous goals and help more people and continue spreading compassion. In a recent interview with Mrs. Dekajlo, many of Compassion
Connection’s goals and traditions were discussed.
Interviewer: What has Compassion Connection meant for Preston?
Mrs. Dekajlo: I think it is the club in the school that lives and breathes the mission of compassion, we are an example of compassion and we provide compassion opportunities for the
Interviewer: What charities are you giving to this year?
Mrs. Dekajlo: There's certain charities we donate to every single year. There are the pantries for the Food drive: The Sisters of Divine Compassion, who have a food pantry in Dover Plains, NY called Loaves and Fishes; Mercy Center, Our Lady of the Assumption and more. We always support Preston Center of Compassion and their mission with the seniors and “Big Sister/Little Sister” program.
Interviewer: Are you keeping past fundraising traditions?
Mrs. Dekajlo: We are doing the Food drive, cookie grams sale, and the Dance Marathon.
Interviewer: Where did Dance Marathon come from and did you think it would be so
Mrs. Dekajlo: [A former Preston employee’s daughter] went to a dance marathon and brought the idea to us. The first year we did it we sent a little girl to Disneyland through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Since then, every year we pick a new theme and it seems like a good fit for Preston. Students responded well and now we do it every year.
Interviewer: What is your goal for this year?
Mrs. Dekajlo: Keep spreading compassion!
Interviewer: Do you have a message for this year's Preston students regarding Compassion
Mrs. Dekajlo: Join us, we’re the most popular club in the school for a reason, Compassion is
popular at Preston!
Compassion Connection is a vital part of the Preston community. Don’t be afraid to join and help out, after all compassion is popular at Preston!