Libro Student Awards presented locally, including to an Amherstburg student



By Ron Giofu


A total of 31 students across southwestern Ontario are receiving $2,000 Student Awards from Libro Credit Union with area students honoured last Thursday evening.

Of the eight students between the ages of 17-25 recognized by Libro for their volunteerism, leadership and academic commitment, one of them came from Amherstburg. Natalie Pallisco, a Grade 12 student at St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School, was selected by the Amherstburg branch as its recipient.

Nika Laurin, branch manager in Amherstburg, noted Pallisco’s applications stood out from the over 20 that the local branch received. Pallisco carries a 97 per cent average in school while amassing hundreds of volunteer hours in the community.

Natalie Pallisco (left) earned a Libro Student Award. She was the Amherstburg recipient last Thursday evening. Making the presentation is Amherstburg branch manager Nika Laurin.

Among Pallisco’s duties in the community include organizing blood drives at Villanova, volunteering at Hotel-Dieu Hospital and being an assistant coach on her school’s badminton team.

Pallisco said it was an honour to be included with the other students that received the awards last Thursday evening at Oxley Estate Winery. She noted that volunteer work isn’t done with scholarships or awards in mind, but they are still a nice to receive.

“It’s incredible (to receive an award), especially when you hear about everyone else that is being recognized,” said Pallisco. “We all kind of have the same values.”

The winners are committed to helping others, she noted, adding “I think we become better when we help others.”

Pallisco said she started volunteering in Grade 9 and said it was nice to have organizations such as Libro recognize academic success and community development. She helps with blood drives as “you never know who is going to need it” and that every unit can save up to three lives.

Volunteering at Hotel-Dieu also sees her help the elderly, even by just visiting two to three times a week or doing small tasks for them. She says the little things make a difference and helps brighten people’s lives.

Eight recipients of Libro Student Awards were recognized last Thursday evening at Oxley Estate Winery. From left: Jessica DeSantis (Leamington), Zachary Lauzon (Harrow), Zak Hu (Essex), Natalie Pallisco (Amherstburg), Rain Pfaff (Blenheim), Sierra Currie (Woodslee), Gillian Marshall (Belle River) and Emma Muldoon (Kingsville).

“We’re inspired and awed by these students,” said Lori Atkinson, Libro’s Regional Manager for Essex-Kent. “To be so committed to their communities and to improving themselves academically at their age, it’s not a one-shot deal. We’re excited to support these students on their educational journey and to see what they bring to the table in the future.”

Since 2012, Libro has awarded more than $360,000 to 166 students between the ages of 17 and 25 through its Student Award Program.

Other winners included Gillian Marshall (Belle River), Rain Pfaff (Blenheim), Zak Hu (Essex), Zachary Lauzon (Harrow), Emma Muldoon (Kingsville), Jessica DeSantis (Leamington) and Sierra Currie (Woodslee).

Candidates come to Villanova to speak with students



By Ron Giofu


Three of the four candidates from the Essex riding turned out to St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School to discuss issues with students.

Liberal candidate Kate Festeryga, PC candidate Chris Lewis and Green candidate Nancy Pancheshan were at Villanova last Wednesday morning to talk to an auditorium filled with Grade 10 students. NDP candidate Taras Natyshak was not in attendance, but NDP leader Andrea Horwath did visit the region that day.

Steven D’Amelio, a Grade 10 civics teacher at Villanova, said there will be a student vote this week and he decided to invite the candidates, so they would know who they are voting for.

Villanova civics teacher Steven D’Amelio (left) welcomes Essex provincial candidates Chris Lewis (Progressive Conservative), Kate Festeryga (Liberal) and Nancy Pancheshan (Green) to an all-candidates forum May 30.

“We have Grade 10 civics classes talking about politics, government and voting,” said D’Amelio.

Among the topics the candidate covered were education, environment and energy.

“It’s not a debate,” said D’Amelio. “It’s more about where they stand on the topics.”

Villanova principal Amy Facchineri told the students they had a “very unique opportunity” as she could not recall doing something like that before.

Facchineri said that even though the Grade 10 students couldn’t vote in Thursday’s provincial election, they do deal with a number of social issues and topics and should be informed of the issues that are out there.

Lady Gens record walk-off 6-5 win over rival Villanova



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Lady Gens slo-pitch team picked up their sixth win of the 2018 WECSSAA season last week and did so in dramatic fashion.

The Lady Gens improved to 6-1 with a 6-5 win over the visiting Villanova Wildcats last Tuesday afternoon at Wigle Park. General Amherst had to dig themselves out of a hole as the Wildcats were up 5-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.

After that, the Lady Gens scored twice in the sixth thanks to a Brooklyn Prescott triple and three more in the seventh inning and walked off victorious.

Madison Pillon connects with a pitch during last Tuesday’s WECSAA slo-pitch game between General Amherst and Villanova.

“We fell a little short at the beginning of the game, but we came from behind at the end,” said Payton Laing, one of the Grade 12 players on the Lady Gens’ slo-pitch team.

Laing credited her teammates for plays both in the field and at the plate. She added that it’s nice to beat a rival school like Villanova and that they don’t like to lose to them. The triple by Prescott is what “picked us up” and gave them the momentum they needed for the win.

“It was a great game. We played our hardest,” said Laing. “Our bats came through at the end. Overall, it was a good game by both teams, really.”

The Lady Gens were in a tournament last weekend and the results were unavailable at press time. They are scheduled to play their final regular season game May 29 at home versus Essex, in a make-up game from one that had been rained out earlier in the season.

Villanova marks major milestone with 100,000th canned good collected


By Ron Giofu


The generosity of the St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School students was on display again last Wednesday.

The Catholic high school collected its 100,000th canned good with teacher Andy Paling stating it is likely they have gone past that milestone. It started small and has blossomed into “Food Bank Friday” fundraisers with various classes within the school participating.

“This program has been going on for about six years now,” Paling stated. “It’s evolved a bit to where we team up with other fundraisers.”

Villanova assists eight local food banks in the area, with the Sandwich Towne Food Bank getting a hand last week. Paling said last week’s fundraiser saw about 2,500 canned goods and non-perishable items brought in. Students took many of the cans and spelled out “100,000” on the floor in the school’s main foyer.

Students from St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School stand with the latest collection of cans the school gathered for charity, The Catholic high school celebrated the fact they now have surpassed 100,000 canned goods collected.

“I try to involve different classes,” noted Paling, as opposed to one class or group concentrating on the efforts. “We try to include as many classes as possible to get involved.”

Paling added his daughter Ashley helped create Food Bank Friday as she pointed out there is always a need. When she graduated, Paling assumed oversight of the fundraisers.

The Windsor Port Authority helps out with the Sandwich Towne Food Bank and Christina Pare from the Port Authority was impressed with the efforts of the Villanova staff and students.

“It’s great,” she said. “We’ve partnered with Villanova for a couple of years now.”

Pare said that it is unfortunate that the need is still there, but she said the Port Authority was encouraged to see the support of such schools as St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School.

Young artist shows and sells her work at G.L. Heritage Brewing Co.



By Ron Giofu


A young artist has been making the rounds showing her art and that included a stop at one of Amherstburg’s newest attractions.

Madison Young was showing and selling her drawings and paintings at G.L Heritage Brewing Co. over the weekend. The 15-year-old St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School student explained that she is getting out more and more with her art work.

“I’ve been participating in a lot of art shows lately,” Young stated. “It’s the first time at G.L. Heritage Brewing Co.”

Young said it was a positive experience as a number of people viewed her work, took business cards and bought pieces of art.

“I’d say it’s been going really well,” she commented on Saturday.

The local artist added she has stared a YouTube channel and has also branched out into other forms of social media. She has over 53,000 followers on Instagram.

Madison Young had her artwork at G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. the weekend of Aug. 19-20. The local 15-year-old will also be a part of Art by the River this weekend.

Madison Young had her artwork at G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. the weekend of Aug. 19-20. The local 15-year-old will also be a part of Art by the River this weekend.

Young will also be participating in Art by the River for the first time this weekend. She further explained she likes drawing a number of different subject matters.

The exhibition at G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. came after her parents visited the new craft distillery at 8728 Howard Ave. and approached the owners about possibly her having a show there after loving the atmosphere.

“We’re very happy to have local artists and to support friends and neighbours,” said co-owner Jenn Desjardins-Grondin.

Young added she is getting more and more people recognizing her and her work.

“It’s a great opportunity. I’m really thankful to G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. for offering me the space,” she added.

For more information on Young, visit For information on the craft brewery, visit