Friends of a deceased cheerleading coach and spirited community volunteer are advocating for a street renaming in her honor.
Community Board 10 unanimously voted on Thursday, May 17 to rename the corner of St. Theresa and Edison avenues in Pelham Bay after Michele Muccio, a coach and community volunteer who perished in an automobile accident on I-95 in March.
Muccio, 44, a popular cheerleading coach at Cardinal Spellman High School and the mother of three, was driving southbound on I-95 near Co-op City when she lost control of her vehicle after another vehicle cut her off.
Long-time family friend and former 49th Precinct detective Victor DiPierro is leading the effort, leveraging knowledge he gained from his time on the police force to get a street co-named in her memory after the Muccio family gave its blessing, said DiPierro.
He said he knew both Michele Muccio and her husband Chris when they were teenagers growing up in Pelham Bay, adding that he recalls first meeting Michelle when she was about 15-years-old.
“I just thought ‘what would be a fitting memory for a person who did so much for the community’, in particular the St. Theresa community,” said DiPierro, adding “She was the kind of person that if you met her once…you would never forget Michele.”
She was a longtime volunteer at St. Theresa School, where her children went to primary school, touching the lives of countless children by being willing to lend a helping hand, said DiPierro.
The vote in favor of the co-naming first took place at CB 10’s Municipal Services Committee on Wednesday, May 2.
Matt Cruz, CB 10 district manager, said that DiPierro brought the board dozens of signatures on a petition supporting the co-naming, and brought her family to meet the board at a recent meeting.
“Unfortunately, it was a tragic situation,” said Cruz, adding “We wanted to do something to honor (the Muccios) and this was the perfect way.”
A spokesman for Councilman Gjonaj’s office said that the street co-naming has been submitted to the appropriate council committee for review as required.
Muccio’s husband and her father both reacted positively to the news that it is likely a street will be named for Michele, noting it is very close to the home of her sister and near where she lived.
“She would have loved this and would have been so honored,” said Chris Muccio. “Especially because it is on the block where she lived.”
Both he and his wife attended St. Theresa School and they were parishioners of the church, he said.
Michele Muccio’s father Joseph Giaquinta said that his daughter was born and raised in the Pelham Bay community, and raised her family there as well.
St. Theresa was an important hub in her life, recalled Giaquinta, as the grammar school got her involved in volunteering when she was a young student, and then later as a coach.
She also was employed by the NYC Department of Education’s Lehman Educational Campus, and will be remembered there as well with a mural to be painted in her honor, said Giaquinta.