A high school senior with a fancy for softball and all things Italian has been selected as Miss Columbus for the 2015 Bronx Columbus Day Parade.
Bianca Mastropietro, a senior at Preston High School, was selected from a field of three semi-finalists after penning a winning essay about Italian cooking show host Giada de Laurentiis and how her television program mirrors her own experiences with Sunday family dinners and day-to-day life as an Italian American.
She will be officially crowned as the winner of the academic contest at the parade’s dinner dance, on Sunday, September 27.
At the dance, she will be giving a speech in Italian that will include a thank you for the honor as well as information about herself and her hopes for the future, she said.
“Being Miss Columbus is meaningful to me because I am representing young girls and everyone with an Italian-American background,” said Mastropietro.
The winning essay impressed an independent group of three judges who are educators explained parade coordinator Tony Signorile.
In the essay, Mastropietro wrote about much how her family, and especially a hard-working grandfather, has influenced her life and her desire to get a good education.
She explained that her grandfather was born in Naples, Italy and came to America as a teenager, missing out on a chance at an American education.
“He did not have opportunity to go to school; he worked at a young age and he is still working,” said Mastropietro. “He has always said to me, my sisters and cousins…to work hard now so that we can do what we want to do later in life.”
She believes that both education and the opportunity to get an education are extremely important, she said.
Miss Columbus 2015 is committed to playing Division 1 softball at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI, where she will be a student in the fall. She currently plays on Preston High School’s team, where she is a catcher.
At Bryant, where she received an athletic scholarship, she will study Business Management with a concentration in Sports Studies.
As Miss Columbus, she will receive a scholarship for college from the Generoso Pope Foundation.
The Country Club native said she was encouraged to participate in the process by her Italian teacher at Preston.
“I applied at the end of last school year to be able to represent my culture and the people of my culture,” she said.
Upon receiving the good news that she had won from Signorile, she literally jumped up and down with excitement, she said.
The parade steps off on Sunday, October 11 at noon at White Plains Road and Morris Park Avenue, and marches along Morris Park Avenue to Williamsbridge Road.
This year’s grand marshal is labor leader Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO.
The honorary grand marshal is Josephine Fanelli, principal of St. Theresa School in Pelham Bay.