With this latest class of five inductees, the ranks of the Cranston Hall of Fame (CHOF) has swelled to 192 of the finest graduates to pass through Cranston public schools.
The CHOF every year acknowledges alumni who have graduated from a public high school in Cranston. This year’s inductees included, from Cranston East, Robin Melfi Coia, Charles Lonardo, Esq., and Karen Santilli. Cranston West was represented by Douglas Sherman Jr., Ed.D. and William Turtle, MD.
The evening, held at the Valley Country Club on Friday, November 3 and was hosted by former Mayor and inductee, Michael Traficante.
Following a procession from the Cranston Police Honor Guard, the inductees each had a special escort bring them up to the head table. Each escort would be making remarks about the inductees later in the ceremony.
Traficante introduced CHOF President, Fred Vincent who gave an overview of the purpose of the organization, which was founded in 1980 and the process the Board of Directors uses while selecting inductees.
Speakers included Mayor Allan Fung, who congratulated all the inductees.
“Tonight we are celebrating another distinguished class of inductees. They made and make Cranston proud. All of them have a strong civic pride that is woven into the fabrics of the characters. They understand and appreciate the value of the education they received in Cranston public schools,” he said.
Superintendent, Jeannine Nota-Masse also expressed her congratulations.
“As superintendent, this is a unique opportunity to honor the “unsung” heroes from our city who are graduates of our high schools. Each honoree has touched the schools in Cranston not only as students, but also as adults who have dedicated themselves to our schools and communities.
“In writing these greetings, I reflected on the outstanding accomplishments of this year’s field of candidates. And I wondered...As teenagers graduating from Cranston High School East or West, where did they think their education would lead them? Did they know what careers they would choose? Were their passions shaped by the desire to help their communities? Did they know they would become role models for future Falcons or Thunderbolts? Did they desire to make lots of money, or perhaps be famous? Only they know that. But tonight, in our small corner of the world, we take a few moments to say thank you. Thank you for making us proud, thank you for being wonderful role models for our children and each other. Remember the good things these honorees have done and respect them by following their lead in our community.
“Thank you for reminding us of our humanity and our responsibility to live lives of compassion, respect and kindness. The good things we do live on in our community long after we are gone,” she said.
During his remarks about inductee Robin Melfi Coia, Mayor Traficante commented on their history and relationship.
“She was a former student of mine, she was a former employee of mine and now she is my current boss. I always knew she was destined for success. She has a sense of kindness and compassion that enables her to connect with people on any level,” he said.
John Tarantino shared special remarks about his life-long friend, Charles Lonardo.
“We met at summer camp when I was nine years old. After that summer we didn’t see each other until our days at Park View Junior High School in 1968. We took the bar exam together, and even our first case was against each other. He’s a stellar member of the Missouri bar, and he works to get legal services to people who cannot afford representation. You are my friend for life,” he said.
Judge Angela Paulus spoke about her friend, Karen Santilli.
“She has distinguished herself within the Cranston community as a cheerleader at East, a member of the CEAB, PTG President at Stone Hill Elementary, and through all of her work helping people,” she said.
Paulus went on to read an extensive list of all of Santilli’s accomplishments and recognitions.
Guy DuFault gave great praise to Douglas Sherman.
“A reputation is defined by the opinions people have about you. His reputation is that of a leader. He does not have the regular impact on young people’s lives. He is of the highest quality,” he said.
Last to speak was Dr. Robert Shamerian on behalf of William Turtle.
“We met in 1977 when we were in pre-med at Brown. “Dr. Bill” is highly regarded and respected by colleagues and patients. He has integrity, dignity and respect,” he said.
After each inductee spoke they were presented with a citation from the Mayor and a plaque from the Hall of Fame.
For further information or questions about the Cranston Hall of Fame Foundation, please contact Fred Vincent, President, at firstname.lastname@example.org or cpsed.net, scroll under community.