“We celebrate the successes and accomplishments of some of our most outstanding alumni and we honor those who have helped the school and the parish who continue to be a vital part of the Maspeth Community,” said Jill Nicolois, senior bank officer of Maspeth Federal Savings and president of the St. Stanislaus Endowment Committee, the fundraising arm of the school.
“The Endowment Committee helps us achieve some of our extracurricular goals we have for the children here,” said Catherine Mangone, principal of St. Stanislaus School. “We have a Summer Educational Enrichment program for children, after-school enrichment, and the committee has helped us with some new amenities in the school building.”
Nearly two hundred people are expected at the event. There are limited tickets available.
John Sanchez is a 2002 graduate of St. Stanislaus, where he developed a love of basketball. He attended Xavier High School and Baruch College to study business and communications.
At Baruch he was a member of its basketball team, which led him to play professionally for the New York franchise of the ABA, NY City Internationalz, for the 2008-2009 season.
In 2010 he began working for the NY Knicks, first as a team assistant in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, then at MSG, where his responsibilities included working on court with Knicks players on game day.
His began coaching basketball at Maspeth’s Martin Luther School under boys varsity coach Randy Gast in 2014. After two years as an assistant coach, he was named head coach, where he brought his team to the PSAA Championship game in February of 2018.
“When a number of aspects of the game and of life come together, I get a thrill,” he said. “You know it’s worth all the time you put in.”
Sanchez is the director of marketing at the Queens Ledger News Group, where his work has won him awards from the New York Press Association for online marketing and digital advertising strategy & development.
He is a member of the board of directors of the Queens College Arts Center and chairman of the Young Professionals Board of the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens. He is also a basketball referee and commissioner of the Heroes Youth and Adult Basketball Leagues of Queens.
His father Walter, sister Caitlyn and brother Thomas all attended St. Stanislaus School. His mother Tammy is a supporter of the school. Sanchez and his wife Jessica live in Kew Gardens.
Bill Donovan started coaching basketball teams and instructional programs 10 years ago at St. Raphael’s parish in Long Island City.
When his daughter Kristen came to St. Stan’s in the third grade, he began coaching the St. Stan’s Marlins, some years two teams at a time.
Donovan is appreciative of the education the school afforded his daughter, as well as the wonderful people and lasting friendships that he’s developed throughout the years.
He looks forward to continuing to be a fixture at school events, the “oddsmaker” during the Night at the Race event and coaching through the Athletic Association.
He is grateful to both Gavin Nichols at St. Raphael’s and St. Stan's athletic director Mike Locascio for giving him the opportunity to teach not only basketball, but life skills and values to the children he helps coach.
Donovan is a graduate and former basketball player for St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn, and lives in Maspeth with his wife Diane and their daughter.
BROTHER DONALD SUKANEK
A Queens native, Brother Donald Sukanek hails from Whitestone. He is the second son of the late Charles and Ruth Sukanek, and family and faith were two of the strongest values imparted to him and his older brother Peter.
Sukanek attended St. Luke’s in Whitestone, St. Mel’s in Flushing, and Bishop Reilly High School in Fresh Meadows.
It was at Bishop Reilly that Sukanek first encountered the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. After graduation in 1968, Sukanek left home to begin life as a postulant with the Brothers, and professed his first vows in 1970.
During those years, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree at St. John’s University as an English major in the School of Education. Master's degrees from the University of Notre Dame and Fordham followed.
His teaching career spans 45 years, interrupted by a six-year term in leadership as the Brothers’ Provincial. Most of those years were in ministry at Msgr. McClancy High School in a variety of roles.
This year he is pursuing courses at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago to prepare for welcoming the next generation of Brothers of the Sacred Heart.
Soon after the Brothers arrived in St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in 2005, Sister Rose invited Sukanek to join the newly formed school advisory board, where last summer he served as chair.
“Is there any more basic way of bringing our faith in Christ to our youth than through the Catholic school?” he said. “The enthusiasm and commitment of the St. Stanislaus Kostka school community, the parish community and the members of the school board to the youth of Maspeth give me hope for the future of Catholic education.”
David Daraio, proudly born and raised in Maspeth, serves as the chief operating officer for Maspeth Federal Savings.
Daraio is involved in many organizations throughout the community. He is currently president of the Maspeth Chamber of Commerce and former president and current board member of the St. Stanislaus Kostka School Endowment Committee.
A former Boy Scout from the St. Stan’s troop, Daraio is currently on the Board of Directors for the Boy Scouts of America Queens Council.
Daraio began his banking career with Maspeth Federal Savings in 1994. With an impressive record of achievements, he was promoted to marketing director in 2008, where he was responsible for the coordination of all marketing, social media and networking activities for the bank.
This experience and professional networking earned him a seat on the American Bankers Association’s Marketing Conference Advisory Board, where from 2012 to 2015 he was instrumental in the growth and success of the annual conference.
Most recently, Daraio assumed a key position on the bank’s Executive Management team as senior vice president and chief operating officer.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Adelphi University, and in 2010 went on to graduate from the ABA School of Bank Marketing & Management.
As chairman of the Maspeth Business Maspeth’s community leaders to start a program to foster and strengthen the development of a business improvement district.
Joseph Grippo was born in Long Island City. He joined the Army in 1957 and served in Germany, where he met his wife Hermine.
They lived in Astoria and had two daughters, Jeannette and Renee, before moving to Maspeth, where they have lived for more than 50 years. Jeannette and Renee attended St. Stanislaus School and received their sacraments in St. Stanislaus Church.
He became a Maspeth Lion in the 1970s, serving the community for over 40 years as a member and past president. The signature event for the club is a Christmas Party at St. Stan's for less fortunate children in the area.
“It is a rewarding job,” he said, “and I have always enjoyed working in and for the community.
Grippo is owner of one of the top legacy family businesses in Maspeth, City Landlord Service, where numerous members of his family have and, still do, work.
In August 2008, Sharon Sperruggia accepted the position of first grade teacher at St. Stan’s. While working for 10 years at St. Stan’s, she helped organize Catholic Schools Week, Field Day, Talent Show, and Dolly Tea Time. Sperruggia was born and grew up in New Hyde Park.
After high school graduation in 2002, Sperruggia attended St. John’s University and graduated with a degree in Childhood Education in 2006. She earned a masters in Special Education in 2008.
At St. Stanislaus, Sperruggia enjoys working with young children and loves seeing them achieve their highest potential. She lives in Floral Park with her husband Anthony and their 18-month-old son, James.
“I am truly honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” she said.
As an active member of the Knights of Columbus for five decades, Joseph Romano has organized countless blood drives and prepared thousands of meals for senior citizens, including thousands of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
“It was a pleasure to help with scholarship programs, civic improvements for our parks and, last but not least, the seedbed donation for St. Stans to continue the ideas of helping thy neighbor and building strong God-fearing girls and boys into men and women,” he said.
Near the end of WWII, a 17-year-old Roman joined the Navy, which was perfect for his endless desire to explore and see the world. With a total of 26 years of service, he sailed through three oceans, the Panama Canal, and visited four of the seven continents and countless countries.
After returning from his tour of duty, he married his childhood sweetheart Marcy and began his own family, settling first in Astoria then eventually Maspeth where they spent the next 50 years with their two boys.
He was an active member of the CYO Youth Program as a coach and manager for various baseball and basketball teams.
MARY ANN TODZIA
Mary Ann Todzia spent 20 years as an office manager for a surgeon and in the cardiology department at St. John's Hospital. As a lay leader in the ministry program at St. Stanislaus and Transfiguration, Todzia says the trip through the program, which she started in 2011, has been one which has deepened her faith.
Learning religion on an adult level has been quite rewarding for her, allowing her to focus on faith-based deeds of compassion and serving.
Her work at Matthew’s Mission includes participating in collection drives for the military and visiting veterans in hospitals.
“I have always dreamed of starting an inspired church organization in which groups of like-minded friends could join for a common good,” she said. “I have that.”