Ciociaro Club

Two CIBPA award winners come with an Amherstburg connection



By Ron Giofu


The Canadian Italian Business and Professional Association (CIBPA) presented its “Awards of Excellence” last week with two of the six winners having an Amherstburg connection.

Among the winners were John Miceli, Amherstburg’s chief administrative officer (CAO), and Sobeys Amherstburg franchise owner Rennie Rota. Miceli won the community service award while Rota and Sobeys Amherstburg were named CIBPA’s business of the year.

Videos were played for each award winner with the winners themselves outlining their stories and testimonials coming from associates, colleagues, family members and friends of the winners.

Miceli noted he and his five siblings are children of Italian immigrants and their parents instilled hard work and family values into them.

“My family was the key to my success,” he said.

Miceli said he learned customer service while working in an Italian grocery store. He said public service is a career where “you are there to serve the people.”

After a 23-year career in Windsor, Miceli came to Amherstburg as CAO in 2015. He said he has been proud to work with council, including Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale, to help move the town forward.

“Working with council, I was able to influence a number of changes,” he said. “Today, we are a community to watch and a community on the rise.”

CIBPA award winners included (from left): Dr. Geri Salinitri, Dr. John Francis Cappucci, John Miceli, Lina Marie Mastronardi, Olimpio Ferrara and Rennie Rota. At far right are CIBPA president Emanuele Calamita and board member Frank D’Agnillo.

One of the children of Miceli and his wife Rita is a son who is autistic and Miceli was also recognized for the work he was done fundraising for autism.

“I’ve been very proud to raise millions of dollars and help over 300 families in Windsor-Essex with autism,” he said.

Miceli said he was humbled to receive the award and had a number of council members and administration on hand Friday night at the Ciociaro Club to support him and his family as he received the award.

As part of the video presentation, Windsor city councillor Bill Marra called Miceli “one of the most genuine, value-based, hard working, ethical people you can meet” and “in my opinion, one of the greatest champions” of Windsor-Essex County.

John Miceli (left) was CIBPA’s community service award winner Making the presentations were CIBPA president Emanuele Calamita and board member Frank D’Agnillo.

“I’ve learned so much from John,” said Marra.

DiCarlo said the community service award is “perfect for John Miceli.”

“He cares about the community,” said DiCarlo. “He never stops working to make it a place to live, visit and work.”

“John is a man who is truly proud of his heritage,” added Miceli’s wife Rita.

Rota, who was surrounded by his family at the ceremony, also got his start with an Italian grocer with him pursuing that career as he advanced through school. He joined Miracle Food Mart and travelled with wife Anne throughout the province while with that company.

“It was a great experience for us,” he said.

They came to Amherstburg after their third daughter was born and purchased Rocco’s Fine Foods, which was located on Victoria St. S.

“We decided to put down some roots,” he said. “Rocco’s Fine Foods was for sale and the rest is history.”

Admitting they struggled for the first few years, they grew the business and started to experience success. They would eventually explore a relationship with Sobeys, who offered a format Amherstburg needed at that time, he said.

“They were looking to develop new supermarkets in Ontario,” he said.

Sobeys opened the Amherstburg store 15 years ago and the 40,000-square-foot store now employs 120 people.

Rennie Rota (left) and Sobeys Amherstburg captured the business of the year award. Making the presentations were CIBPA president Emanuele Calamita and board member Frank D’Agnillo.

Rota calls Amherstburg a “tight knit community” and thanked Tino Riccio for nominating him and the local Sobeys store. He said there are a number of great non-profit organizations in Amherstburg, citing the Rotary Club, Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce and Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission as some of them.

“These wonderful organizations have done great work,” he said.

Rota stated that “it is a real honour to be recognized” and said “this is an award our family and I will cherish for a while.”

Other award winners included Dr. Geri Salinitri as professional of the year, Dr. John Francis Cappucci as young professional of the year, Lina Marie Mastronardi as young professional of the year and community service and Ferrara Income Tax as the family business of the year.

General Amherst High School recognizes students for academic achievements



By Jolene Perron


More than 300 students were recognized last week during General Amherst High School’s Academic Awards Ceremony at the Ciociaro Club in Tecumseh.

“It’s always nice to reward kids in this day and age when a lot of the things we are rewarded with, everyone gets a prize,” explained principal Melissa DeBruyne. “Well, not everyone gets a prize here, it’s just those who have worked really hard for something very special.”
Students were recognized for their achievements in the year prior, gathering Grade 10, 11 and 12 students together with their families for an evening of dinner and awards.

General Amherst High School held its annual academic awards banquet last week at the Ciociaro Club in Tecumseh. This year’s “Top Dog” Award winners were Megan Fishwild for Grade 11 (left), Jeremie Bornais for Grade 10 (centre) and Abby Orchard for Grade 9 (right). The awards were for the highest averages in each grade.

This year’s Top Dog Award Winners were Abby Orchard for Grade 9, Jeremie Bornais for Grade 10 and Megan Fishwild for Grade 11.

“I’m very proud. I know Jeremie works very hard. I know that it’s something he has put a lot of effort into and I’m very happy,” said Jeremie Bornais father, Jeremie. “He is the type of kid that sets goals and goes after those goals and achieves them, so I’m very proud of him. We know how well and how hard everyone works and we know that everyone has the ability to be the top, so we are very impressed.”

Michael Thompson receives his certificate of honors during General Amherst’s Academic Awards Ceremony last week.

Jeremie explained his son is the provincial chief squire for all of Ontario and not only dedicates himself to his school work but he also dedicates a tremendous amount of time to help those less fortunate than himself. His family was proud to watch him receive his Top Dog award last week.

“I am always inspired when I see this, and I get excited about the kids crossing the stage,” said DeBruyne. “When I see how they light up, or they’re scared but they look out to see their parent or guardian who is there for them, it’s a pretty proud moment.”

Local youth taking chess talents to provincial, national and North American levels



By Ron Giofu


By winning a chess tournament last month, Corey Way has advanced into not just one big tournament but three.

Way, a Grade 6 student at Stella Maris School, won the Ciociaro Club Youth Chess Tournament last month. The championship propelled the 11-year-old into the Ontario Youth Chess Championships in May, the Canadian Youth Chess Championships in July and the North American Youth Chess Championships in August. The Ontario tournament is in Kitchener while the latter two are scheduled for Caesars Windsor.

Corey Way, a Grade 6 student at Stella Maris, has advanced to the Ontario, Canadian and North American youth chess championships.

Corey Way, a Grade 6 student at Stella Maris, has advanced to the Ontario, Canadian and North American youth chess championships.

Way won his first eight games in the Ciociaro Club tournament, though had some tough opposition along the way. After advancing out of the first day, he admitted to lacking confidence on the ride there for the next round of tournament action. He lost the first match on that day but quickly rebounded.

“I shrugged it off and got my confidence back,” he said.

He won his next two matches, including the latter over a good friend of his.

“I made a few good moves near the end and he made one mistake,” said Way.

Way regularly prepares for tournaments by playing his father Rob and his brother Cameron. He spent a lot of his March Break getting ready, playing as many as seven matches a day, though nerves kick in before every tournament.

“It’s nerve-wracking before you are playing but when you start, you get the hang of it,” said Way.

Noting he is excited to advance into the next three tournaments, Way stated he is happy for the support he has received.

“I’m happy I am playing so well and I’m at the level I’m at now,” he added.

Way started playing chess four years ago and enjoys the game.

“It’s interesting,” he said. “You learn patience. You think about your next move and their next move.”