Three students earn DiFiore scholarships
June 7, 2019

DiFiore Scholarship winners Kevin O’Kelley (top, center) and Lesly Rodriguez (lower left) with the Rev. Richard Fragment (left), Dr. Vince Arpino (top, right), and his wife, Dr. Tina Smith Arpino (lower right).

Officials at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii awarded scholarships in honor of the late Antoinette “Toni” DiFiore, life-long resident of the Near West Side and member of the shrine, at the 11 a.m. Mass on April 28.

In the DiFiore contest, run by the shrine and Mrs. DiFiore’s nephew Vincent Arpino, DDS, young adults “write an essay about the person who has most influenced you in your life,” Arpino said. Winners receive scholarships for attending a Roman Catholic high school.

Top award winner was Kevin O’Kelley of St. Patrick High School, who received a $1,000 scholarship. He wrote about how a high school hockey coach and teacher inspired his confidence. He will attend Bradley University next year.

Runners-up were Gianni Esposito, a De La Salle High School sophomore, and Lesly Rodriguez, a freshman from Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. Each received $500 scholarships. Esposito wrote about how his grandfather and father instilled family values and an appreciation for his Italian heritage, and Rodriguez wrote about how lyrics from a band helped her get through the struggles of being a teenager.

“Thank you to the Rev. Richard Fragomeni and the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii for making it a wonderful day,” Arpino said.

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