Dunmorean of the Month: Isabella Zeller

Dunmorean Miss Buck

By Steve Svetovich

Inspiring children and helping those in need are Dunmore senior Isabella Zeller’s goals in representing her school in 2020-21 as Miss Buck.

Daughter of Aimee and Larry Zeller, Dunmore, the new Miss Buck of Dunmore High School was humble, but excited when she learned about her new role as a senior.

“I am so excited to be able to serve as a role model for younger children,” she said. She is also following in the footsteps of her mother who served as Miss Buck during the 1994-95 season.

Isabella, 17, is an honor student with a 3.3 academic average at Dunmore. She is a member of the French Club, TACT and has been a basketball cheerleader for the past eight years, serving as co-captain this year.. She is a three-year member of the Dunmore tennis team.

Isabella, modest in nature, said her best academic subject is English. She wants to study Elementary and Special Education at West Chester University after she graduates from Dunmore in 2021.

Dunmorean Miss Buck 2She talked about her goals as Miss Buck. “I want to inspire young children and be a good role model. I hope to inspire young children to be twirlers. I want to help those in need.”

And her future goals? “I want to go to West Chester and become a special education teacher. I want to help young children with special needs.”

Isabella said she loves twirling and learned to twirl under the direction of the prominent Sherry Rubino Nicolais, Dunmore. She has been a twirler for the past 10 years. 

The Dunmore senior said her parents taught her well. “My parents always taught me to be kind to those in need.”

Isabella’s number one mentor in life is her grandpa, Thomas Carr. “My grandpa has always been a very hard worker,” she said, “He teaches me to never give up on anything. I learned about the value of hard work from him. He is retired, but worked for Dunmore Roofing and drove for UPS. He worked hard for everything he has in life.”

Isabella said she kept busy during the COVID-19 pandemic by practicing to become Miss Buck and preparing for the upcoming season.

She is proud to represent Dunmore High School as Miss Buck. “Dunmore High School has provided me with lifelong friends,” she said. “The bond you make with your classmates here is so incredibly strong and unbreakable. Dunmore has made me the person I am today.”

Isabella is an active participant in “Tomorrow’s Leaders of Today.” Her favorite musical artist is Harry Styles. “I like him because he treats people with kindness,” she said.

“I am really looking forward to my senior year and beyond,” she said. “I want to be a good role model for my school and set a good example for young children. I have great classmates and friends here at Dunmore. It is just a great experience.” 

Dunmorean of the Month: Maria MacDonald

Maria MacDonald 1By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore’s Maria Pane MacDonald, program director for interior architecture at Marywood University School of Architecture, was named executive director of the national nonprofit, Center for the Living City.

The Center for the Living City was founded 15 years ago by friends of urban journalist and community activist Jane Jacobs who grew up in Dunmore.

Daughter of Michaelene and the late Francis Pane, MacDonald is a lifelong Dunmore resident and very proud of her roots in the borough.

“I see a lot of great architecture in Dunmore,” she said. “We have some great buildings and homes. But it is the community of Dunmore and the people in it who stand apart. All of the great things that are said about Dunmore and its citizens are true. This a borough I grew up in and never left.” 

MacDonald, who grew up in the same block in Dunmore as Jacobs, will become only the second director for the Center for the Living City organization. 

She replaces the center’s founding executive director, Stephen Goldsmith, who is stepping aside to focus his time on advancing the Center’s global Observation and Action Network. Goldsmith will remain on the center’s board of directors.

MacDonald is the founder of the Marywood University School of Architecture.

She continues to work as a practicing architect and specializes in adaptive reuse, preservation and restoration projects.

The Center for the Living City is a United States based nonprofit launched in 2005 by a group of activists, practitioners and teachers. It holds the distinction of being the only urbanist organization founded in collaboration with Jacobs.

The center’s governing board selected MacDonald from a strong field of more than 70 applicants.

Well versed and thought provoking, MacDonald received bachelor of arts degrees in both architecture and interior architecture from the University of Rhode Island School of Design, where she received the Excellence in Design award for her work on the “Reclamation of Forgotten Spaces.”

She utilizes a holistic, integrative design approach that aims to strengthen the relationships between the allied design disciplines and people and and the environments in which they live.

“I am thrilled to have been selected to work with the center’s board and staff to advance the mission,” MacDonald said. “This is an exciting time for Dunmore and Scranton and all of the universites and nonprofits.” 

MacDonald throughout her career has been team leader for many significant community projects. As an educator, her intense focus is on service and community outreach, providing community-based, experiential learning opportunities for her students and the people in the communities where they work.

She served for the past 15 years as Interior Architecture Program Director at Marywood University. She steered the program successfully through two full NASAD accreditations. 

“I am very proud to be a Dunmorean,” she said. “Jane Jacobs grew up on Monroe Avenue in Dunmore and I grew up and still live on Clay Avenue in Dunmore. She is an internationally known Urbanist and I am grateful to follow in her legacy.”

MacDonald has two sons. Her older son Neil MacDonald, 26, is a chemical engineer. Her younger son Ethan, 21, is a senior aerospace engineering major at the University of Maryland. Both are Scranton Prep graduates.

Her mom is a lifelong and proud Dunmore native. Her late dad died when she was young.

“We have a lot of great buildings in Dunmore,” MacDonald said. “that we can renovate and live in.

“We are now recognized both locally and on the international level. I think that is pretty great. We should be proud to maintain our identity. I am very proud to be a part of the Dunmore community my entire life.

“It is not a myth that we all know each other and you look out for your neighbors in Dunmore. We in Dunmore give back. There is a reason I never left Dunmore.”

The Marywood University School of Architecture is accredited with over 350 current enrolled students, MacDonald said.

MacDonald is a 1985 graduate of Dunmore High School. 

Dunmorean of the Month: Jerry Ferrario

By Steve SvetovichFerrario

Dunmore’s Jerry Ferrario is a local real estate developer who uses his skills to better the community.

Ferrario, 57, a Dunmore High School and Villanova University graduate with a bachelor of science degree. in finance, has been a real estate developer for the past three decades.

Married to his grade school friend and high school sweetheart, the former Nadine Lucas, the couple has three children: Jerry, 22, a graduate in economics from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School; Thomas, 21, a senior business major at the University of Miami; and William, a computer science major at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. All are Scranton Prep graduates. 

Ferrario and his brother Joe, 56, also a Dunmore graduate, rented the space and are the real estate developers of Monroe Plaza, the site of the old Price Chopper in Dunmore. His brother graduated from the University of Scranton with a bachelor of science. in business management.

The Ferrario brothers are equal business partners. Michael Marion, Scranton, is a minority partner in the Monroe Plaza development. 

Jerry’s focus for the past 30 years has been on commercial development in Dunmore. The lifelong Dunmore resident takes great pride in the this community. He regularly focuses on projects for the betterment of the borough.

Michele Neary, vice president of marketing for United Gilsonite Laboratories, works close to the Monroe Plaza. “Jerry has his focus on the betterment of the community,” she said.

“A true testament to that are the beautiful townhouses on Sherwood Avenue which was previously an abandoned building. Jerry is the developer there.

“We are blessed to have residents who want to bring lucrative businesses to Dunmore and beautify the community.

“As a member of the local business community, it is refreshing to have a business leader like Jerry who gives back double what he receives.”

After graduating from Villanova, Ferrario came back home and joined Ferrario Insurance and Real Estate which his late grandfather, Angelo, started and ran until his dad took over. He and his brother Joe operated the business after his late dad Jerry, Sr.

But real estate development and improving the Dunmore community was in his veins.

He developed 10 townhouses on Sherwood Avenue in 2008-2009. Currently nine are occupied and one is available. There is approval to build another six, he said. 

The Monroe Plaza is 44,000 square feet, of which 32,000 square feet are occupied, he said.

“There is 12,000 square feet vacant, but we have some interested tenants,” Ferrario said.

The current tenants of Monroe Plaza include Traditional Home Health Care, Great Wall Chinese Restaurant, Saint Joseph’s Day Care Center, Podiatrist Elmo Baldassari, Brian Clark Architecture, a mortgage company and the Haggerty, Hinton and Cosgrove Law Firm.

“My goal is always to help make Dunmore a better community,” Ferrario said. 

“I take a lot of pride in living in this community. We have really good people here. My brother is an equal partner. And Michael Marion is a big help as a minority partner. We are always looking to improve the Dunmore community.”