Written by Margaret Whitely Friday, 15 April 2011 00:00
The members, guests and dignitaries of New Hyde Park Cellini Lodge No. 2206, Order Sons of Italy in America, celebrated its 43rd Annual Scholarship dinner dance last week at the Chateau Briand, on Old Country Road, Westbury. The singular honoree at the event was Gina Ferrara, the lodge’s immediate past president who served for the years 2009 to 2011.
Ferrara joined the Cellini Lodge 1992, but has participated with her extended Ferrara family even as a youth, especially in the Aurora Italian Language Program.
Followng graduation from Floral Park Memorial High School, she attended Hofstra University, prior to moving to Arizona for several years where she attended the state university.
A former member of the Circle K Club there, she persisted in achieving her bachelor’s degree in accounting. Currently she is employed at WeiserMazars, LLP where she was promoted in 2008 as senior accountant. She is currently pursuing her CPA.
While involved with the Cellini Lodge, Ferrara was a member of various officer-ships from treasurer through to vice-president and then president.
She was the chairperson of many events from the Adult/Children’s parties, annual picnic, and then went on to serve at the state level on a variety of committees, which ultimately led to her election as Chair of District II , Nassau County Council of presidents of lodges within the area.
She is a proud Italian American, who traces her grandparents’ roots within the area to Palma-Campania in southern Italy. Her father, Pasquale Ferrara, and Colleen Siwilec have two sons in addition to Gina.
Lifelong residents of Floral Park, they are a family that gives back to the community and Gina follows in the footsteps of her aunt and uncle, Grace and Angelo Ferrara, who each served as Cellini presidents.
Since its inception in 1968, the New Hyde Park Cellini Lodge has provided close to 360 scholarships with more than $285,000 collectively awarded.
In the past few years, the Cellini Lodge Foundation Scholarship Committee has announced the creation of several new scholarships owing to the generosity of Cellini members. Namely the Anthony Musso family, Anna Muela, in honor of her late husband and in 2010, once again, the Tedone Foundation sponsored scholarships, in honor of the late Gene Tedone.
In speaking with Joseph Sciame, a past president of the Cellini Lodge and now an OSIA National/State past president, who served as a driving force with the Cellini Scholarship/Charitable Journal and who was instrumental in the founding of Cellini Lodge said, “We are all very proud of the Cellini Lodge. First, since it’s our own home lodge, and second with 407 members it is one of the largest of the OSIA in New York State and third, it is a model lodge in its organization and many activites within the community of New Hyde Park and surrounding areas.
“Cellini Lodge attracts members from other communities because of its very involvement in the fabric of our society, by promoting education, culture and charitable giving and that is why we are all so proud of this lodge.”
Sciame added, “We are proud of our honoree Gina Ferrara, who served so well as president. She, as with other past honorees, of our Cellini Lodge, have been Italian American role models for all of us.”