Dunmore’s Keystone Chapter UNICO recently awarded its 2020 Brian Piccolo Awards to Lauren Grippi from Dunmore High School and Nicholas Tomassoni from Valley View High School.
This award is given to a Lackawanna County high school senior student athlete, male or female, who has exhibited excellence on the athletic field and in the classroom. Furthermore, the student has displayed the attributes of Brian Piccolo as shown by hard work, dedication, loyalty, and teamwork. The student must be recommended by their school’s athletic department and have traceable Italian ethnicity. Brian Piccolo, a native of Pittsfield, MA, was a running back for the Chicago Bears who died at the early age of 26 from cancer.
At the presentation to Lauren Grippi are members of the Keystone UNICO Piccolo Committee, including from left are Mark McDade, Nanine Gramigna, Awardee Lauren Grippi, Keystone president Frank Coviello, Ann Summa and Bob Kovatch.
Lauren will further her studies at Penn State University.
Dunmore tennis MVP Lauren Grippi, center, is shown with her coaches Jenny Ondeck and Jenna Urban.
By Steve Svetovich
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lauren Grippi had to wait until mid-July to graduate, and saw her graduating senior activities cancelled, but the humble, polite scholar-athlete took it all in stride.
“I felt like we missed out on a lot of fun senior activities like awards and class night,” she said. “but everyone was in the same predicament. We were all in the same boat, so how can you complain?”
Lauren said she worked out, did school work and prepared for the college application process during her time off due to the pandemic. She will most likely study psychology while attending Penn State in the fall.
Daughter of Shannon and Rich Grippi, Lauren had an impressive 3.6 academic average at Dunmore High School. She was a member of the National Honor Society and MVP and co-captain of the tennis team. She was Spanish Club recording secretary and a member of show choir, drama club and chorus. She was president of SADD, wrote for the school newspaper and was a football cheerleader for four years. Her favorite academic subject is English.
Lauren, in her courteous nature, said she was honored to receive the team MVP award for tennis. “I felt honored and very happy when I heard about it,” she said. “Tennis takes a lot of determination and you can’t give up. You have to practice very hard.”
The talented and always busy Dunmore graduate said her parents taught her to work hard to achieve goals in life. “My parents taught me about a good work ethic and to always try my best at anything I do.
“My parents are always there for me. They also taught me to treat people right.”
Lauren said her Dunmore tennis coaches, Jenny Ondeck and Jenna Urban, taught her similar values. “Try my best and never give up. Work hard all the time. Keep your head up.”
Lauren comes from a very talented and hard working family. Her dad is a retired Pennsylvania State Policeman. Her mom is a local dental hygienist. Her late grandfather Doug Miele was a veteran and Scranton Tribune newspaper editor. Her late great-grandfather Tony Miele played baseball, spent numerous years as a volunteer baseball coach and is a member of the Northeastern Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Her brother Richie Grippi, 21, was an all-star baseball shortstop at Dunmore and is a junior at Penn State.
Lauren said her goals in the immediate future are to pursue a psychology degree at Penn State, graduate, get a good job and eventually pursue an advanced degree and become a counselor.
“I like to help people and listen when someone has a problem,” she said. “I like to help out with a person’s problem. That’s why I think counseling would be a good field for me.”
The soft-spoken tennis stalwart said she enjoys listening to country music in her spare time. Luke Combs is her favorite country artist.
Lauren said she enjoys being involved in a lot of school activities, but still kept her grades in the mid 90s. “I always got my school work done before practice,” she said. “I set time aside to study.”
Kind, considerate and hard-working, Lauren will now chase her star at Penn State, but she will never forget Dunmore High School.
“I felt a part of a family at Dunmore,” she said. “I was welcomed by teachers and classmates throughout all my years at Dunmore. It is really a very close knit community. It will always be a part of me.”