March 25, 2010
All text and photographs by Jen Cowart
The memory of former Hugh B. Bain Middle School staff member Linda Santurri was honored Thursday at the school’s ninth annual pasta dinner, which was dedicated in her name.
The dinner benefits the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, as Santurri died after her own battle with cancer.
The event goes back to 2001 when science teacher and Student Council advisor Steve Scappaticci decided with then-Principal Michael O’Rourke that Bain needed a shot of school spirit. According to current Principal Tom Barbieri, the pair felt a pasta supper would spark parent involvement and bring more families back to Bain.
Barbieri, who was assistant principal that year, agrees.
Nine years later, the cafeteria at Bain was chock-full last week with parents, students, teachers and Cranston residents. Barbieri’s family has attended the dinner every year.
“It’s a great thing,” said Cranston Superintendent Peter Nero, who was there along with Assistant Superintendent Judy Lundsten. “It’s a wonderful part of Bain’s fabric and tradition now, and they’re raising money for a good cause.”
Bain faculty worked both behind the line in the kitchen and on setup and cleanup throughout the night. Many of the students served as greeters, welcoming the guests as they arrived.
Barbieri says that Scappaticci now heads the committee for the dinner, along with staff members Michelle Giardina and Katie Durigan, and with the help of many volunteers.
The Cranston School Committee had several members present, including Steve Stycos, Frank Lombardi, Andrea Ianozzi, Paula McFarland and Stephanie Culhane.
McFarland knew Santurri personally, and spoke fondly of their days as PTA moms.
“Linda was a personal friend of mine. We were PTA moms together and our daughters graduated a year apart,” McFarland said. “Linda was the most caring and devoted person to this community that I’ve ever known.”
Honored guests also included Mayor Allan Fung, Paul Archetto, Parents and Teachers of Bain President Joe Swinski, several Cranston school principals and the president of Bain’s Alumni Association.
“We’ve had a full house every year,” Barbieri said proudly, noting that over 300 people were in attendance this year.
School Committee member Andrea Ianozzi pointed out the importance of such an event.
“It’s a wonderful event that not only raises funds to combat a deadly disease, but also raises awareness about the American Cancer Society for their event,” she said.
Guests were asked to pay a nominal donation for the dinner and money was collected through a 50/50 raffle as well as in donation tins placed around the room.
“Personally, I think it’s one of the traditions that defines our community,” said Barbieri. “Food and families coming together is always a winning combination.”