2012-04-04 / Features

Astoria Civic Holds Annual Scholarship Dinner Fundraiser

BY JASON D. ANTOS


Philanthropists and honorees John and Margo Catsimatidis present former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. with a check for $25,000 to help benefit the Judge Charles J. Vallone Scholarship. 
Photos Jason D. Antos Philanthropists and honorees John and Margo Catsimatidis present former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. with a check for $25,000 to help benefit the Judge Charles J. Vallone Scholarship. Photos Jason D. Antos The Astoria Civic Association (ACA) held its annual gala dinner to raise funds for the Judge Charles J. Vallone Scholarship. The association honored philanthropists John and Margo Catsimatidis, CEO of Red Apple Group and president of MCV Advertising respectively. Also honored was Astoria resident and business leader Santino DiFiore. More than 300 guests were in attendance including state Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. at Riccardo’s By the Bridge Catering Hall in Astoria.

“Not only is this a great night for the community to come together but it’s for a very worthy cause,” said Vallone Jr., whose grandfather Judge Charles J. Vallone founded the organization in 1933.


Paul Halvatzis is sworn in by Assemblymember Aravella Simotas as the Astoria Civic Association’s president. Paul Halvatzis is sworn in by Assemblymember Aravella Simotas as the Astoria Civic Association’s president. Vallone also noted that all of the money raised goes to the scholarship recipients.

The event, held on March 31, was hosted by former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr.

Each year high school principals nominate students residing in Northwest Queens, who are then interviewed and selected by the civic association’s scholarship committee. The scholarships range from $750 to $4,000.

Students must be in the top 20 percent of their class and have been accepted at an accredited college.

Past scholarship alumni were on hand to celebrate the organization and encourage future recipients to excel. Past winners have gone on to be successful in a wide variety of fields, including law, medicine and politics. Simotas herself is a former scholarship recipient.


State Senator Michael Gianaris was also in attendance and is seen here with Vallone Sr. State Senator Michael Gianaris was also in attendance and is seen here with Vallone Sr. The association has awarded at total of $544,455 in scholarships to date.

The evening concluded with the swearing in of new board members and officers. Paul Halvatzis was sworn in as the association’s president.

The ACA hosts free monthly meetings at Riccardo’s by the Bridge on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m., where city leaders take questions from the community.

The association will also host a children’s bike race at Astoria Park on May 20 at 8:30 a.m.



Linda Perno, Halvatzis and Vallone Sr. award honoree Santino DiFiore (second from r.). DiFiore donated money to help support the scholarship fund. Linda Perno, Halvatzis and Vallone Sr. award honoree Santino DiFiore (second from r.). DiFiore donated money to help support the scholarship fund.

New incoming board members are sworn in. New incoming board members are sworn in.

New officers are sworn in. New officers are sworn in.

Vallone Sr. and Halvatzis present DiFiore with a Proclamation. Vallone Sr. and Halvatzis present DiFiore with a Proclamation.

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