• Corporal William Spinelli
    Corporal Billy Spinelli, USMC, Petrides Class of 2009, was recently named: "Marine of the Year."  Billy was named the distinguished marine of all enlisted marines that were stationed in Afghanistan in 2012.  Billy entered the Marine Corps after graduating Petrides and has been totally committed to the cause of defending America.  Billy was also a City Champion wrestler at 138 pounds.
      Billy recently had a private lunch with the staff of the Commandant of Marines in Afghanistan, General James Amos.  General Amos went of of his way to ackowledge Billy and solicit his opinion about the contributions the United States Marines made to help stabilize Afghanistan.
    Ms. Joanne Buckheit has designated March 12, 2013 as "Billy Spinelli Day" at Petrides.  Billy will be overseeing the raising of a flag in our quad at 9 a.m.  This flag flew over the forward operating base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.  360 Marines were killed in Helmand Province with 4,700 wounded.  Billy will also be speaking to six different classes during the day about his experience in Afghanistan.

    STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Readers of the Advance — particularly the Inside Out column — will surely identify with the name Morgan Blayke Vazquez.

    A familiar name to this column, as well as to the borough of Staten Island not only because of her exemplary service to community but also because of the way in which she impacted the student body at Fordham University, Morgan graduated summa cum laude (highest graduation honors) from the Rose Hill Campus with a 3.95 grade point average.

    So, then, we simply can't resist celebrating Morgan, her mega-achievements and accomplishments, and pausing to shine the spotlight on this most deserving young adult — who will probably be a household name within a short period of time.

    FYI: At graduation, the New Springville resident, a double major in communications and media studies and sociology, was presented with the Rev. Ralph W. Dengler, S.J., Memorial Award, which honors the memory of a longtime member of the communications faculty and a scion of the Fordham family, and an award that's granted each year to one graduating senior who has demonstrated scholarly excellence in the field of communications.

    Morgan also received the Senior Leadership Award that honors graduating seniors who have made valuable contributions to the community during their time at the university, and who are viewed as leaders among their peers through their ability to lead, organize, empower and inspire their fellow students.

    Note that Morgan is a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the national Jesuit honor society, where membership is based on scholarship, loyalty and service. Only the top 15 percent of junior and senior classes at Jesuit schools are invited to apply for membership, and of those, just 4 percent are selected. She also was named president of Lambda Pi Eta, the national communications honor society, for the 2012-13 academic year, and was president of the Jewish Student Organization.

    She also was selected to be a Fordham Career Ambassador in a program that aims to provide a cohort of Fordham's talented and career-driven students the opportunity to serve as a bridge between Fordham Career Services and the undergraduate student body — and also became part of the Global Peer Assistant program.

    A violist in the Fordham Orchestra, Morgan also was a news anchor on "Fordham Nightly News."

    Morgan was president of the Lambda Pi Eta National Communication Association's official honor society.

    She was named to Phi Beta Kappa.

    Also, she was named to Phi Kappa Phi, the purpose of which is the recognition and encouragement of superior scholarship in all-academic disciplines; membership is by invitation and based primarily on grade point average (3.9 GPA).

    And on the local level, for several years Morgan single-handedly organized the annual Doo Wop Nights at the Alzheimer's Foundation of Staten Island in West Brighton to benefit the Staten Island Alzheimer's Foundation.

    At this writing, Morgan's post-graduation plans include full-time employment at JPMorgan Chase, where she interned, as an HR Analyst.

    However, in the fall of next year, we've been told she plans to attend graduate school at Columbia University to earn a master's degree in social and organizational psychology.

    Outside of Fordham, Morgan is an Executive Council member of the National Society of High School Scholars. As a guest Speaker at an NSHSS event in Memphis, she spoke to more than 500 high school students on topics related to leadership, community service and preparation for college, and she will be a guest speaker at the 2013 Annual NSHSS Scholar's Day to be held in Washington, D.C., in August.

    Congratulations to Morgan and the Vazquez family — including parents Ina and Carlos — as you celebrate your dedication, hard work and continued success!