By Rob Potter
GRAHAMSVILLE October 28, 2005 His family members, friends, teachers and coaches have known for several years that Tri-Valley Central School senior Joe Garigliano is an outstanding athlete, citizen and student.
In the very near future, people from across the nation will know about the accomplishments of Walter and Barbara Gariglianos son.
Last week, the 17-year-old Grahamsville resident received a letter from Laura Cox, who is a Regional Marketing Specialist for Wendys International, Inc.
In the letter, Cox congratulated Garigliano for being selected as a New York State Finalist in the 2005 Wendys High School Heisman Program. Cox also informed Garigliano that he was the Male State Winner in New York.
It is a great honor to be recognized as the best male scholar-athlete-citizen in New York and you should be extremely proud, Cox wrote.
Earlier this year, nearly 15,000 students were nominated nationally for the Wendys High School Heisman Award. Only 10 males and 10 females per state are chosen as State Finalists and only one male and one female per state are named as State Winners.
Back in the spring, Garigliano and classmate Danielle Musa were nominated for the Wendys High School Heisman by TVCS teachers and administrators.
Being selected for the award was a pleasant surprise for Joe and his whole family.
We had to read the letter twice, Barbara Garigliano said.
I was really surprised when I received the letter, Joe Garigliano said. The only other person I had ever heard of being recognized in the Wendys Heisman Program was Heather Iatauro. Two years ago, she was one of the 10 female finalists for New York State. Its pretty awesome.
Barbara Garigliano concurred with her son.
Joe is in good company, she said, referring to Iatauro, who won state championships in cross country and track and was the valedictorian of the TVCS Class of 2004.
Ranked second in his class, Joe Garigliano is the starting quarterback for the T-V varsity football team. He is also a member of the Bears varsity baseball team, played varsity basketball as a freshman and was a member of the schools indoor track team last winter.
Garigliano is also an avid outdoorsman and has been involved with the Town of Neversink Renaissance project and various school fundraising projects.
This past spring, Joe and his mother were talking about ways to raise money so the T-V baseball team could travel to Disney World in Orlando, Florida over spring break 2006 to play teams from around the nation. They came up with the Rent-A-Player program. Joe and several of his teammates participated in the program.
Basically, we did some cleaning up for mostly elderly community members, Garigliano said. We started in the spring and finished in mid-June. We were raking leaves and picking up tree branches from peoples lawns.
The Rent-A-Player program raised about $5,000.
Garigliano is looking forward to Thursday, November 17. On that evening, he and the other state finalists from Wendys Northeast Heisman Region which includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont will gather at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., which is the home of NFLs New England Patriots. He and the other state finalists will enjoy dinner and an awards ceremony.
I talked with our high school principal, Ken Sherman, and he said we will be in a dining room with large glass windows that look out onto the field, Garigliano said. They will put our names up on the scoreboard. Its going to be great.
Garigliano is allowed to bring two family members and a school representative to the awards ceremony. He has chosen his mother, brother Matt, who is a T-V freshman and member of the Bears junior varsity football team, and varsity football coach Dave Viglione to accompany him on the trip to Foxboro.
Naturally, Viglione is very proud of his quarterback.
To win that kind of an award is a testament to Joes hard work, Viglione said. Joe is a star in the classroom and a star on the football field. Hes a very hard worker.
Viglione noted that Garigliano has been calling one-third to one-half of our plays since his sophomore year. And this season, which is his first playing defense, Garigliano has led his teammates from his safety position.
Hes like a coach on the field, Viglione commented.
The Wendys Heisman awards dinner will be the start of a big weekend for Joe Garigliano. The day after the ceremony, he and his family members will be flying to South Bend, Indiana so they can attend the Syracuse-Notre Dame football game on Saturday, Nov. 19.
Ive been a big Notre Dame fan since I was little, said Garigliano, who added that two of his cousins graduated from the university and his older sister, Maggie, is a graduate of St. Marys which is the womens college at Notre Dame who now attends Loyola University in Chicago.
In addition to Maggie and Matt, Joe Garigliano has three other siblings. Jimmy is a student at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, John attends Auburn University in Alabama and Mark is a third-grade student at TVCS.
Even though a few days have passed since he received the congratulatory letter, Garigliano is still taking it all in.
To be one of the 100 state winners out of the 15,000 students who were nominated is really cool, he said.
His parents are helping Joe keep everything in perspective.
We are really proud of him, but were not going to let it go to his head, Barbara Garigliano said.