Cindy Stumme Maldonado 0

Helen Donato Tozzi induction to the McKeesport High School Alumni Hall of Fame

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We the undersigned are requesting the nomination and induction into the McKeesport High School Hall of Fame, Helen Donato Tozzi. We believe that this award was not only earned, it is warranted due to the diligence and community effort made on her part for the children of the community. This award represents those graduates who have given back to their communities through involvement, and the providing of opportunity to many to become involved in the community. In 1947, McKeesport High School graduate Helen Donato Tozzi established and continued for 40 years the McKeesport Majorette Drum and Bell Lyre Corp. For many years this group allowed many a local student from ages 5-18 the opportunity to belong to a disciplined entertainment marching group that performed in 1000's of local parades and participated in many field shows and competitions. Through her dedication to the youth of our community she became an icon in our area with awards including Presidential Commendations, and continual recognition for the many children who marched and performed with this prestigious group. This continued effort afforded many children who would otherwise be inactive in the community, the opportunity to learn, share and transform their experience into their adulthood careers, family and educational beliefs. Any person was given the opportunity to become members of this wonderful group where in some cases felt like it was it's own 'neighborhood' inside our community. A neighborhood where everyone knew everyone, everyone was discplined, taught, and given the same opportunity to learn some form of art. Whether it was learning how to march, dance or perform, it also thwarted many an opportunity to learn baton twirling, playing a musical instrument, learning music, learning percussion and many times acting and singing. An activity that many children of those times did not get due to costs involved nor was provided elsewhere. She was an influence to all, a writer, a manager, a talented individual of many of the arts, and most importantly adored by all the children and young adults who had the opportunity to cross her path. She is still today looked up to by every person who was a member of this talented group, their parents, former members of the political arena, and the various grandchildren who only today wish this group was still in existence. Many of these individuals went on to stay involved in the artform this group provided who later became teachers, instructors, instrument instructors, music shop owners and still today reunite from time to time to reminisc about the days of this group, the children it touched, the families it assisted in every form of need, the many lives who were made richer due to the availability of a community group that everyone could become a part of. They have grown to many levels of talent and careers, and who have started families of their own, hundreds who also were graduates of McKeesport High School. This group provided 'feeder' groups to many local high school bands and majorette groups, color guard and the talent was to the extreme. It is very evident today, by watching our local bands perform at football games or competitions that there is something missing and that is the feeder group of children that they once had from this organization. This all because of one individual who for some reason or another has never received this award. One individual who set aside her own family time, many a sleepless night worrying about one child or another, many, many childhood memories that may or may not have been shared with her own children, all to give the opportunity to hundreds of others to have memories that will never ever be overshadowed by a 'bad childhood'. Her pride today is still overwhelming for the respect and admiration that she has gained from many for her efforts and for continuing to provide for 40 years a great community organization and remarkable impression on the community. She definitely brought 'fame' to the City of McKeesport, and in those efforts gave talent to those individuals who went on to share it in their educational years. While she was consumed in interest and concern for each child who marched the streets of McKeesport due to her strong willed desire to give our community children the opportunity to keep them busy enough that the streets would not overtake them and enough discipline to see them become community minded adults, she would be profoundly grateful and humbled by this award so rightfully deserved. We the petitioners hereby request that you honor this absolutely wonderful, deserving woman with this award.

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