The Drama Club had planned to hold a pasta dinner fundraiser this Friday night to benefit the organization.
But when a real-life dramatic situation struck the community last week, the students decided they needed to focus their efforts on a much more pressing situation.
The Drama Club students have decided to continue with the dinner fundraiser, but instead of raising money for their organization, they've decided all proceeds will go toward the family of OHS sophomore Brandon Giordano and a scholarship that will be set up in honor of the 15-year-old football player who died in a car on Friday night.
“Everybody was behind the idea; it’s amazing how one person impacted so many people,” said junior Jeanmarie Winger, a Drama Club student who was good friends with Giordano.
The dinner will be held from 5-to-8 p.m. in the OHS cafeteria. Donations of penne pasta and sauce can be made in the OHS main office this week. Tickets for the dinner - which will include pasta with meatless sauce, meatballs and possibly salad - will cost $8 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, and children 3 and under will get in free. There will be dinner seatings at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
For more information, call at the high school at 203.888.2468 and ask for Glenn Lungarini or Cathy Prowe.
Friday’s pasta dinner is just one way in which the school and the community-at-large is helping the family of Giordano. Several thousands of dollars have already been rasied to help offset funeral expenses. Additional funds will go toward a scholarship in Brandon’s name, which will be given at the high school annually. School administrators will administer the fund.
The OHS students and Oxford community have also raised money to help Giordano’s mother, Angela Borelli, fix her home. The bedroom in her house at 94 Christian St. caught fire on Friday night/early Saturday morning. After she heard the news, Borelli ran out of the house. A candle was still burning in her bedroom and it somehow started a fire. Oxford firefighters contained the flames to her bedroom, which sustained significant fire and smoke damage.
Since the accident and subsequent fire, many personal donations have poured in for the family. Several local organizations have helped, as well. According to Lungarini, the school’s vice principal/athletic director, organizations that have collected money include all four Oxford schools, the Oxford High School Booster Club, students who held a on Saturday night, and Oxford Town Hall. Seymour Fish and Game, as of Tuesday, had raised more than $1,100 for the cause. (There may be others who donated.)
Anyone who wants to donate to the scholarship fund but cannot attend the pasta dinner on Friday can send a check payable to “OHS Booster Club” with “Brandon’s Fund” written in the memo line. It can be sent to Oxford High School, 61 Quaker Farms Road, Oxford, CT 06478, attn: Glenn Lungarini or Cathy Prowe. Or they can be sent to Oxford Town Hall, 486 Oxford Road, Oxford, CT 06478, attn: Anna Rycenga.
Rycenga, the town’s zoning enforcement officer, is organizing Town Hall’s efforts for the fund drive and has distributed a flyer with details about Friday’s pasta dinner to most commercial businesses in the community. The businesses were supportive, Rycenga said, adding that many will display the flyer in their front windows or at their counters.
The entire community has been supportive since the accident, said Winger, the Drama Club student.
“I don't think Oxford could have handled it any better,” she said.
On Monday, she said, school officials allowed students to focus less on academics and more on remembering their classmate. Winger said that was important for the students because it gave them time to grieve together. She said school staff, teachers, administrators and others were “amazing” in how they helped students.
“This has brought us together as a community in a way I’ve never seen,” she said. “There is not one person in the school who I am not proud of.”
Winger met Giordano last year in gym class. He was the kid, she said, who always had others laughing.
“You could never have a sad face around Brandon,” she said. “No matter what, he made you happy and you would laugh. His mother should be proud of the man that she raised.”