Miscellaneous Memorabilia

More from Bob DiCaprio
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academic honors
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rfa pupils small
(article below is actual size)
rfa special
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rfa pub
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4th largest

own diplomas
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rfa initiates
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multiple small
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grad class small

math teachers graduate
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                                    and gown
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school days ending
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fair skies small
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twins small
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Thanks to Rick Nasci for this 1962 picture of Galiano Club
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Back Row: 1- Coach Larry Delutis   2-Romeo Pettinelli  3-Peter DelPiano  4-?  5-Calvin Domenico  6-?  7- Foster Spadafora  8-Coach Richie (Bugs)
Kneeling: 1-Dave Beach 2-Alan Cidzik  ,3-?  4-?   5- Rick Nasci  6-Joe Zigrino  7-Pat Grogan  (Cut off is Richi’s son)

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Thanks to Bob DiCaprio for these memories !









Thanks to Robert DiCaprio for this picture of the
1964 American League Championship
team, MESA 56
(click on picture for larger version)
top row 1-
Al Perfetti   2-Gary Colangelo   3-Chuck Halpin   4-Rich Destito   5-Bob DiCaprio  6-Louis Bartolotti  7-Tom Moore 8-asst. coach Moore (Ozzy)
bottom row kneeling 1-
Carl Evans  2-?  3-Bill Halpin   4-Pat DiCaprio  5-Rich Worlock  6-Gary Rudzinski  7-Alan Sweezey  8-Winston Goodman

thanks to Joan Serino for these RFA photos

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thanks to Peter Gallicchio for the patches below



thanks to Peter Gallicchio for these two photos below

The back of Staley Junior High (thanks to Pete Gallicchio)
" I LIKE IKE" campaign slogan for the Eisenhower/Nixon Preidential  campaign of 1956. 
The brick layers of that wall in 1956, unknowing to others, snuck it into the pattern.
(you may have to step back from your monitor about 6 feet to see it more clearly)

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thanks to Ellie Krupowicz for sharing
the articles and ribbon below

9th grader

4  t



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A Concise History of Staley

January 2011

Historical materials compiled and
drafted by Mr. Wayne Carrick
and Dr. David DeProspero

The year was 1958. South Pacific was the highest grossing box office film, and Dwight D. Eisenhower was president of the United States of America. On the local front, Superintendent of Schools, Lyndon H. Strough, and Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Louis V. Denti, took part in the dedication ceremony of Rome’s newest school, George R. Staley Junior High School.

Named for Rome’s past Superintendent of Schools, George R. Staley (under whose leadership the District saw the construction of more new schools than any other in Rome’s history), the dedication of Staley Junior High School took place on June 3, 1958, although construction on the school was not fully complete. The path to Staley Junior High School wound its way back to the early 1950’s due to the fact that Rome was experiencing a surge of military families linked to Griffiss Air Force Base (constructed in the early 1940’s). The increased student load on the existing Rome City School District buildings was soon at capacity, and the Laurel Street School (now Strough Middle School), constructed only a few years prior in 1954, could not accommodate all of the District’s 7-9th grade junior high school students. 

The George R. Staley Junior High School construction project began in the mid 1950’s.  Superintendent of Schools, Lyndon H. Strough, and Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Louis V. Denti explored sites and options for the school with the assistance of School Board President, Mary L. Pendorf. Ultimately Staley’s current site, next to the Mohawk River, was selected as the ideal geographic location for the facility, as the District’s junior high school students could be equally divided between the two regions of the city currently served by the Laurel Street School, and the soon-to-be George R. Staley Junior High School. The land for the school was purchased at a cost of $52,000 for a total of 52 acres. This sizeable tract of land was selected for the needs of the time, as well as any future expansion that might be necessary. Designed by Perkins-Will Architects, of Chicago, Illinois, and locally by Robert Trowell Architects of Rome, The total cost of the school was $2,446,843.98, using the best materials and construction techniques of the time. Staley was built to accommodate 1200 pupils, and the building was oriented with the scenic value of the Mohawk River in mind. Further, in compliance with State recommendations, instructional classrooms were isolated in an East-West orientation, with other classrooms housing art, homemaking, technology and shop, etc., arranged in a North-South orientation, with the additional inclusions of a Library, Auditorium, dual gymnasiums (a larger gymnasium on the main level, with a smaller ancillary gymnasium upstairs), and an amphitheater-styled music classroom.

Over the years, Staley Junior High School hosted a considerable number of esteemed administrators, beginning with Dr. Wallace Ludden. Chronologically succeeding Dr. Ludden was Ralph Furiel, Bruce Benedict, Clarence Jones, Guy Giamporcaro assisted by Sheila Vandeveer, Susan Whitney, Dick Meiss, Jim Tyler, and Cindy Barry. Bud Fiore acted as interim Principal for a duration assisted by Terri Shawl, as did Fred Zamperetti assisted by Carolyn Trela-Ferlo.

In the summer of 2002, Staley was closed for a year for asbestos abatement, as well as for construction sponsored by a New York State energy program which featured new window walls, doors, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, and a host of other upgrades. For the 2002-2003 school years, Staley students were housed at Strough Junior High School, and the period was fondly dubbed the Stroughley Experience. Despite decades of friendly rivalry and competition between Rome’s two Junior High Schools, the school year ran very smoothly with both student bodies under one roof.

In the fall of 2003, coinciding with the completion of the new Rome Free Academy on the grounds of the former Griffiss Air Force Base, Staley was transitioned into a middle school, hosting grades 6-8. Although parts of the school’s construction project were still incomplete, Principal Constance Evelyn, assisted by Mark Benson, eased the potential for chaos amidst ongoing construction, and the struggle for a true academic identity within the District. Although the configuration experienced a shaky start, Staley Middle School eased into a groove and experienced success with the new configuration.

However, in the spring of 2004, the news was released that Staley would undergo yet another new grade configuration, transitioning the building from a middle school (grades 6-8), into a new concept known as an Upper Elementary School. Beginning in the fall of 2005, Staley would find itself hosting the Rome City School District’s entire population of 5th and 6th grade students; a truly large quantity of students compared to past configurations.

Again, leadership was switched up for the new configuration, and Staley Upper Elementary School became led by Principal Mike Stalteri, with interim Assistant Dick Meiss.  Ultimately, a permanent Assistant Principal was hired, and James Haugli rounded out the administrative team. While the transition to an Upper Elementary School model was a unique move, the District fielded some dissent from the Rome populous. Some families felt that the configuration was too radical, that the school had too many students, and that there were too many transitions happening too soon. However, despite these criticisms, Staley Upper Elementary School flourished, and even developed its own true identity within Rome’s elementary envelope. Teachers found themselves fond of the model, as did the student body.  Academically, the model also seemed to be working, resulting in standardized test scores well above average.

For the 2008-2009 school years, James Haugli took over as Principal of Staley Upper Elementary School and was assisted by Rebecca Marzeski. The 2009-2010 school years also saw revised leadership, and Staley was led by Principal Karen Miller, assisted by David Farah for the first half of the year and Fred Zamperetti for the second half of the year. The change was made permanent prior to the 2010-2011 school year, and Fred Zamperetti’s interim appointment as Assistant Principal was made permanent.

Like most buildings, Staley has a colorful history with some unusual stories tied to it.  Dating back to the initial construction of the building, a bricklayer took it upon himself to be creative with the multicolored bricks used for the rear façade of the building. The construction coincided with the presidential campaign of Dwight D. Eisenhower. As such, the bricklayer embedded the popular election slogan “I Like Ike” in large brick letters on one rear wall of the building. While not fired, the worker was reprimanded by the Building Clerk, yet the discovery of the wording was made too late to change or remove it. Looking closely, the lettering can still be seen to this day.

Another interesting characteristic about Staley is the school’s seasonal feathered inhabitants. Each spring, numerous families of ducks fly into the school’s central courtyard and nest under the protected lower concrete ledges. In late May of each year, the parent ducks emerge from under the ledges, generally followed by up to a dozen baby ducklings. Within the courtyard, the newborns are well protected from predators. The only problem is there is no natural means of exit from the courtyard. Through the mystery of hereditary adaptation, the parent ducks have learned to approach the exit doors in the courtyard and peck on the glass.  When this occurs, the school’s custodians know it is time for the feathered families to be released. In what has come to be a tradition at Staley, a path is cleared within the hallways, which are usually lined by several classes of students watching the unusual event. Two interior doors are opened, and the ducks are corralled into the gymnasium hallway, led down the hall to the rear exit of the building, and escorted to the creek next to the tennis courts. By instinct, the ducks all enter the creek and float out to the Mohawk River, and all in attendance are assured that some of the hatchlings will reappear within the school’s courtyard in following years with families of their own.

The Mohawk River, itself, is a feature of the site which is inexorably intertwined with the functioning of the school building. What was originally intended as an esthetic decision during the planning of the site, the school’s proximity to the river has, at times, also been a burden. The river’s floodplain abuts the school building, so when the river experiences springtime flooding, occasionally the school building does as well. The flooding is cyclic, and generally occurs every three to five years. During years where flooding is bad, the school has been forced to close down for a few days until water levels recede. While the building, itself, is in no threat by the flooding, it is a general consensus that it is in the best interests of the children not to be in or around the building when water levels are that high.

Moving back in time to the later years of the 1700’s, the site that Staley sits on also has great significance. It was the site of the British encampment during the siege of Fort Stanwix (also known as Fort Schuyler at the time). Occurring between August 2 and August 22 of 1777, British soldiers, Loyalists, Hessian soldiers, and Indians, commanded by Brigadier General Barry St. Leger made camp on the site where Staley now sits while trying to occupy Fort Stanwix, which was held by Colonel Peter Gansevoort and Continental Army forces from New York and Massachusetts. Ultimately, the siege was abandoned when St. Leger’s army encountered reinforcements led by Benedict Arnold. To this day, the site still retains historical significance, and has been the location of countless archeological digs by local and national historical organizations.

Relating to the land, itself, Staley sits on acres of natural wildlife habitats, including protected wetlands, forests, an oxbow lake, and more. The site is also a breeding ground and refuge for Cranes and Blue Herons. In addition, the land is fed by a natural underground spring which, during the re-development of the parking lot in 2004, was redirected underground to the Mohawk River by a system of culverts. Amidst this wildlife habitat is a nature/running trail which was developed and maintained by Rome teacher, Ty Knam. This trail is used for nature walks by Staley classes, as well as the District’s various Cross Country teams. The trail was dedicated by Ty to Coach Paul Gigliotti.

Staley has played host to countless graduates who have gone on to achieve greatness and notoriety. While the list would be too extensive for this document, Staley was home to former Rome Mayor and New York State Senator Joseph Griffo, and Griffo’s Mayoral Inauguration was held at Staley. Staley has also had the fortune of receiving numerous famous keynote speakers over the years, most of which presided in Staley’s Thomas Foster Auditorium. The auditorium was named after one of Staley’s former art teachers, Tom Foster, who managed the school’s prestigious drama club throughout the 1980’s. Following retirement, Foster also managed the Rome Community Theater’s drama club as well.

Finally, Staley retains a piece of history that has been long forgotten by many modern schools throughout the nation – its own Alma Mater – a song developed to depict Staley and its culture. In 1996, the Alma Mater was composed by three former Staley students, Larry Daniello, Charlie Vaccaro, and Don Marullo. Entitled, “STALEY YOU HAVE BEEN A FRIEND”, the song beautifully describes the pride associated with Staley, the friendships that students develop, and the interconnection to the Mohawk River and surrounding areas. Staley is privileged to have such a moving testament dedicated to its name.

Staley is a building with a long rich history, both with regard to its namesake, but also with regard to the land that it is seated on, as well as its consummate history of attendees. While Staley’s current configuration is an Upper Elementary School, the one true constant at Staley is change, and the ability of Staley’s faculty, staff, and students to embrace such change. Staley is a school with an elaborate and dynamic past, and a future that is very bright.


Staley's auditorium rededicated to Thomas M. Foster

background music - "Cavatina"  written by Stanley Myers
Robert Schulze ad Dennis Parrish (guitars) recorded 1981
(on PC's only heard if using Internet Explorer)

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