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The Milford Columbus Committee
2023 Dinner Dance
Saturday, October 14 2023
2023 Award Recipients
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Italian American of the Year

Sam Discenza

Sam was born and raised in Glens Falls, New York, graduated from Queensbury High School and obtained his BS from Syracuse University majoring in accounting. While at Syracuse he joined the fraternity Phi Kappa Psi which provided him with not only lifelong friends, but the opportunity to assist in his tuition cost by working as janitor (House Mouse) and chairman of the house committee, both of which came with partial room and board.

His first job after graduation was as an auditor for Ernst & Ernst, which at the time was one of the Big 8 accounting firms. One of Sam’s proudest achievements was to pass the four-part CPA Examination and receive his CPA certificate.

When Sam came to Milford, he befriended the late Hank Frauenhofer CPA, as both were members of the Milford Jaycees.  Sharing the same goal of becoming self-employed, they established the accounting firm of Frauenhofer & Discenza in October of 1967. That firm has evolved to the current partnership of Discenza, Beck and Lee, LLC, CPA with partners Glenn Beck, Joe Lee, and Austin Chapman.

While a member of the Milford Jaycees, Sam served as a board member and participated in many fundraising activities. Sam has also served on the board and Treasurer of the Milford Chamber of Commerce for twenty-one years. (According to Bob Gregory a record!) Sam has also served on the Board of the Stratford Visiting Nurse Association as a board member and President and was a member of the Milford Club, Inc. the second oldest men’s social club in the United States. There he served as a board member, House Chairman and President. 

An avid golfer, Sam joined Mill River Country and served on the board as Treasure for eleven years. Sam is still a member of Mill River and continues to “play” golf as often as possible. Sam has always been a loyal New York Yankees fan, and unfortunately still is. Each of these organizations benefited from his efforts and he personally benefited from them as well.

Sam resides in Shelton with his wife of 45 years, Janet and their cat Cooper.  His daughter Kendra and her husband Steve, his grandson, Joshua and his wife Kasia, and his granddaughter Megan reside in neighboring communities of Milford, Shelton and Branford.

Sam has not yet decided to retire and plans on continuing to serve the Milford community.

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Special Achievement 

Jennifer Fiorillo

Raised in Southbury, CT, Ms. Fiorillo serves as the President & CEO of Bridges Healthcare in Milford. She has nearly 30 years of experience in the healthcare and non-profit industry with extensive background in quality, compliance, fiscal management, business operations and program development.  She has dedicated her career to improving access and delivery of healthcare in diverse settings.   


Ms. Fiorillo has led Bridges Healthcare through multiple large projects and initiatives including acquiring Gold Star accreditation through the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, conversion to a new electronic health record system, integration of behavioral health and primary care, and most recently, the award of $4 million ($2 million per year) to establish a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic. She holds a Master of Public Health Degree from Southern Connecticut State University, a Master of Business Administration degree from Post University and a certificate in Non-Profit Executive Leadership from Duke University.  Jennifer is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and serves on the Board of Directors for CommuniCare, Inc. and Advanced Behavioral Health.


Ms. Fiorillo is honored to serve the Milford community as an advocate and behavioral healthcare partner. 

Special Recognition

Honorable Beverly K. Streit-Kefalas

Judge Beverly K. Streit-Kefalas is the Probate Court Administrator for the State of Connecticut by appointment of the Honorable Richard Robinson, Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court in September 2019.  She served as the judge of probate for the Milford-Orange Probate Court from 2011 to 2021 and for the Milford Probate Court from 1999 to 2011.


Her lifelong commitment to meeting the needs of vulnerable citizens has gone beyond her role in the Probate Court system and includes past Board membership for non-profit organizations such as Bridges Healthcare, Inc., the Milford Senior Center’s Council on Aging, The Boys and Girls Club of Milford, the Devon Rotary, the United Way of Milford, and others. 


An active member of many committees and past President of the Connecticut Probate Assembly, she has served as an administrative judge for a number of the Regional Children’s Probate Courts in the state and was elected in 2021 to serve as a fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation James W. Cooper Fellows Program.


A lifelong Milford resident, she is a graduate of Lenox Avenue Elementary School and Jonathan Law High School.  She earned her bachelor’s degree at Smith College and her juris doctorate at the University of Connecticut School of Law.


Her commitment to serving others was a foundation laid by her wonderful parents, Arthur Streit, late of Milford, and Barbara Streit, who proudly raised an Italian-Irish family of 8 children. Judge Beverly is the proud parent of two daughters, Dia and Barbara. 

Scholarship Recipients 

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Emma Acri

Emma Acri is a life-long resident of Milford and a 2023 graduate of Trumbull High School’s Regional Agriscience and Biotechnology Program. As an active member of her school and community, she completed more than 500 hours of community service in high school, and, as a result, earned several Golden Eagle community-service awards. She is the founder of Hope Grows, a charity that helps fund research at the National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation, and, as a member of Milford Girl Scout Troop 38380, helped found the Milford Kindness Rocks Project at Walnut Beach in 2016. She is also a volunteer for Locket’s Meadow Animal Sanctuary in Bethany, Milford-based Toby’s Dream Dog Rescue, Fans for the Cure, and numerous local veterans’ groups and projects. At Trumbull High School, she was honored to have been nominated by her teachers to be THS’s Connecticut Ambassador at the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar in 2021, and also earned a spot in the National, Science, Math, English and Social Studies honor societies, served on the officer team for the Trumbull FFA and was selected to be a member of THS’s LINK Crew and Peer Leader team. Emma will attend Cornell University this fall, where she will major in plant and environmental science. She is the daughter of Tom and Michelle Acri of Milford.

Julia Deicicchi

Julia Deicicchi will be attending the College of Charleston with a major in communications. She is a Foran High school graduate, and was very involved during her time there. She was class president, a member of the student council, National Honor Society, Natural Helpers, Key Club, and President of ASL club. She is also an avid writer, and was a staff writer for the school newspaper. As well as, the social media editor for the school paper, which allowed her to post about a diverse variety of people and activities in the school community. She plans to continue writing in college as well.  Julia would like to thank the Milford Columbus Committee for this generous scholarship.

Madeline Elmo

Madeline Elmo, a proud Italian American, is a rising freshman at Southern Connecticut State University where she will major in nursing. Her long term goal however, is to become a pediatric APRN and open her own clinic. Throughout her highschool years at Joseph A Foran High School, Madeline has been actively involved in both the school and Milford community. From being President of the Key Club, to helping out in the Unified Sports and Best Buddies Programs, to organizing leaf raking for the elderly, to even just lending a simple hand or smile, Madeline has an innate drive to help others. She was also involved in Natural Helpers, Habitat for Humanity, Student Government, National Honors Society, and Interact Club. Madeline has a natural passion to assist everyone and anyone she sees, and has an empathetic and positive personality. Madeline hopes to join more volunteer opportunities while attending SCSU. In addition to participating in numerous service clubs, Madeline also found time to run both indoor and outdoor track. Her events included the mile, the 4x8 relay,1000m, and the 800m. In her free time, she enjoys running on the beach,babysitting, starbucks runs, and hanging out with friends and family. Madeline also enjoys spending time with her younger sister Grace Elmo who is 13 years old. Madeline is a compassionate and fun spirit individual who always has a smile on her face. She enjoys being around others and giving back to the community anyway she can.   

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Olivia Jenkins

Olivia Jenkins is a graduate of St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, Connecticut, where she maintained a cumulative 4.0 GPA while participating in a rigorous high school program. She consistently earned a place on the President's Honor Roll completing 9 AP courses such as AP Calculus, AP Physics, and AP Literature. Olivia has served as a Student Ambassador, demonstrating her ability to represent her school with professionalism and dedication, and her outstanding achievement in mathematics led to her selection as a tutor for fellow students. She was recognized for her academic and leadership abilities through induction into the National Honor Society, National Spanish Honors Society, and the National Music Honors Society. Olivia has dedicated over 200 hours to various nonprofit organizations volunteering at the Beth El Center, serving meals for the homeless and was involved with organizations such as Best Buddies, assisting in social events and activities for special needs high school students. She participated in backpack drives for students facing socio-economic difficulties, coat drives and organized the sending of over 400 Christmas letters to troops stationed overseas. Her commitment to community service extended to activities like meal packing, tree planting projects, and assisting in compliance events for the Connecticut Chiropractic Council.

Olivia is an active golfer who represented St. Joe’s athletics in field hockey and Lacrosse where she received awards for “Sportsmanship”, “Most Improved Player” and most recently the “FCIAC Life-Teammate Award”. Olivia has also been a member of the Nor'easter Club Lacrosse travel team. She has shown her passion for music, playing guitar, piano and drums as a member of the school band, jazz band, and guitar club. Additionally, she has been involved in clubs such as the Spanish Club and Future Health Care Providers, demonstrating her diverse interests and commitment to personal growth. During her years at St. Joe’s, she held part-time and summer jobs at Cricket Car Hop, Jenkins Family Chiropractic, and Racebrook Country Club. Olivia was selected as one of 50 participants to attend the "Women on the Move" workshop hosted by JP Morgan Financial Group. This opportunity through Future Females in Finance allowed her to enhance her knowledge of and gain valuable insights into the finance industry. Olivia will be attending the Pamplin School of Business at Virginia Tech this fall where she will be studying Finance with a focus in Investment Management and Chartered Financial Analysis. She is looking forward to her future academic experiences and wishes to extend her sincere gratitude to the Milford Columbus Committee for selecting her for this generous award.

Past Honorees
Past Scholarship Winners
2022 Dr. David Esposito
2019 Mark Tutino

2018 Vincent J. Lambiase Jr.
2017 Suzanne Greco
2016 Donald Cozzolino
2015 Doug Edo
2014 Phil Vetro
2013 Michael Petrucelli
2012 Lenny Napoli
​2011 Gene LaPorta
2010 Carol Sorbo McInnis
2009 Tina DeNapoles
2008 Anthony Candido
2007 Gary Montano
2006 Chief Keith Mello
2005 Paul Lewis Otzel
2004 Dr. Anthony Cernera
2003 Mayor James Richetelli
2002 Louis & John D'Amato
2001 Dr. Anthony Russo
2000 Dr. Lawrence DeNardis
1999 Alberta Jagoe
1998 John LaBarca
1997 Fred DeLuca
1996 Dr. Nickolas Coassin
1995 Armand Cantafio
1994 Leonard Napoli, Sr.
1993 Jim Argo
1992 Dr. Gioacchino Parrella
2022 Anthony Giordano
         Jack Weber
         Natalie Roney
         Jamie Andrade
2021 Eric Haig
         Tori Lanese
         Mary Grace Weissauer
2020 James Rodrigues

         Deanna Dempsey
         Anthony Capua
2019 Michael Giordano
         Cecelia Lickteig
         Rachel Wywoda
2018 Julia Bryant
         Abigail Huebner
         Michael Sciancalepore
2017 Francesca Giannattasio
         Gino Esposito
         Olivia Tramuta
2016 Alyssa Paladino
         David Carelli
         Leo Merturi 
2015 Dante Esposito
         Shaina Arsenault
         Paul Flynn
2014 Lindsey Attolino
         Sabrina Scarpetti
         Sophia Tramuta
2013 Casey Oliver
         Julia Elia
         Timothy J. Attolino Jr.
2012 Ashley Fitzgerald
         James L. Richetelli III
         Theodore Boynton IV
​2011 Andrea DePucchio
        Sage Esposito
​        Margeaux Settineri
2010 Jeannie E. Jalbert                   Ryan Springer        
         Alec Tutino
2009 Kevin Jalbert, Jr.                     Shelby Grich
         Melanie Dutton
2008 Joe Forzano

         Nathaniel Czajkowski
         Katherine Guarino
2007 Christopher Bachiocchi
         Molly Clifford
         Casey Farricielli
2006 Peter Petrini
         Steven Genova
         Christina Ciacci
2005 Drew DeFonzo
         Michelle Bartlett
2004 David Benigni
         Katie Hatch
2003 Christopher Palumbo
         Lauren Secondi
2002 Anthony Pietrini
         Maria Fitzgerald
2001 Stephen Russo
         Adam Goodfellow
2000 Nicole Secondi
1999 Anthony Romano
         Frank Santoro
1998 Sarah Forte
         Jennifer Bottacari
         Audra Napolitano
1997 Nikki Collucci
1996 Alyson Pinto
1995 Jennifer Collucci
1994 Christopher P. Richetelli
1993 Elizabeth A. Barbieri
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