Written by Cory Twibell Friday, 01 April 2011 00:00
Westbury School Board Trustee Rocco Lanzilotta was sworn in as president of the Order Sons of Italy Donatello Lodge #2559 on Tuesday, March 22 at the Westbury Recreation Center on Post Avenue.
The catered affair was standing room only for some attendees and as Lanzilotta was installed in his new position, all guests offered a round of applause.
According to a handout distributed at the ceremony, the Donatello Lodge #2559 of Westbury was instituted as a co-ed lodge in New York State on July 22, 1984. The first incorporated act of the Sons of Italy took place on June 22, 1905. The organization currently features over 70,000 members across the United States and Canada.
The lodge is active in the Village of Westbury, contributing to the senior citizens, Westbury Fire Department, St. Brigid’s Church, adopting families for Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as supporting charities such as Cooley’s Anemia, the Gift of Sight, Alzheimer’s and Autism.
“Did you ever have that feeling of déjà vu?” asked Lanzilotta, who previously served as president of the Donatello Lodge #2559 in the past.
“There is much to accomplish over the next several years. And by staying united and working together we can achieve our goals, increase membership, fortify our ranks and extend our hands to those more needy than ourselves,” said Lanzilotta.
Lanzilotta noted that Italian culture and heritage, customs and folklore are in danger of being forgotten, but that teachers in the Westbury School District are working toward creating a curriculum to celebrate Italian history.
Lanzilotta proposed to the lodge to help fund the program and expand to other schools within the district and beyond and ultimately helping support any student who wishes to learn the Italian language.
The new president, with first-hand experience in the school district, noted that districts across Long Island are being hit “harder and harder every year by lack of funding” and are in danger of being cut. He urged all to volunteer to help showcase Italian culture for its heritage month in October as well as getting involved within the lodge and the community.
“We need to continue to teach our children the importance of our rich culture and heritage and it’s organizations like ours that help to keep these traditions at the forefront,” said Lanzilotta, who noted that adults could do the same at their local adult learning centers.
The lodge holds a dinner dance every year for scholarships in addition to fashion shows, night at the races, pasta nights and other social functions. For further information, call Rocco Lanzilotta at 338-1959.