Bronx Columbus Day Parade honors Joanne Rubino

Joanne Rubino, 40th Annual Bronx Columbus Day Parade honorary grand marshal, is pictured here during a visit to Sicily in Italy.
Photo courtesy of Joanne Russo Rubino

The Bronx Columbus Day Parade is coming up on Sunday, October 9.

When the parade steps off at noon at Morris Park Avenue and White Plains Road, and marches to the reviewing stand at Williamsbridge Road, thousands of spectators are expected to line the route.

Some 18 bands, numerous community groups and schools are expected to march, said Tony Signorile, parade coordinator.

The grand marshal will be businessman, real estate developer and education philanthropist Richard Naclerio.

Every recent parade, including the upcoming 40th annual one, has had an honorary grand marshal: an educator .

This year, the honorary grand marshal is Joanne Rubino, a recently retired guidance counselor who worked at M.S. 135 and P.S. 78, and for a decade at P.S. 83 in Morris Park.

Rubino, a graduate of St. John’s University and from the College of New Rochelle with a masters in guidance and counseling, is well known for her community work as a Forum of Italian American Educators board member and a Community Board 11 second vice chairwoman.

“Joanne reaches out to help children in the community who are not even her students,” said Signorile, adding “She dedicates a lot of time and energy to the community.”

Rubino recounted that she wanted to be a teacher after taking a break from her career to raise her two sons in Pelham Gardens.

She started as a substitute teacher and initially worked full-time as a social studies instructor, she said.

“I noticed that so many kids have issues, and I was interested in helping the kids who have issues,” said Rubino, adding that her husband had suggested she become a guidance counselor, and she fell in love with it.

She retired from the Department of Education at the end of last school year after spending 25 years in the classroom.

“I was one of the few people in the world who like the middle school age,” she said, adding “I went the extra mile because that is what you do; it was not an extra mile for me.”

She said that she enjoys attending the Bronx Columbus Day Parade, especially seeing all of the schools marching and showcasing their students’ talents.

Rubino said that honor took her by surprise.

“Asking me to be a part of the parade was…an honor; it was totally out of the blue,” she said.

The parade is a time to celebrate Italian-American heritage, said Rubino, adding she first learned about her heritage after she moved back to New York from Georgia as a young child and spending the rest of her upbringing in the then heavily Italian-American Belmont community.

Tickets for the parade’s annual dinner dance, on Friday, September 30 at Maestro’s at 7:30 p.m. are still on sale. For more information, call Chris Alessandro at (914) 582-1913 or Tony Signorile at (917) 715-2210.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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