Lantern ceremony to be held in memory of deceased classmates

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Committee members planning a lantern ceremony in honor of deceased members of the Dunmore High School Class of 1966 include, from left: Ann Rizzo Mellert, Tom DePietro and Annie Longo.

By Stephanie Longo

It’s a way to send a bit of “Dunmore Pride” to heaven.

The year 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Dunmore High School Class of 1966’s graduation. While the reunion committee is getting ready for a celebratory bash this fall, one classmate has decided to make sure that the class’s fallen comrades aren’t forgotten.

Dunmore resident Annie Longo fondly remembers some of her classmates who are no longer here, such as Thomas Malloy, who was killed in Vietnam, and Robert Scholla, who died unexpectedly during the class’s sophomore year.

“The deceased members of our class deserve to be remembered in some way during our reunion year,” Longo said. “We’re blessed enough to be here to celebrate our 50th reunion. It was in my heart that I knew I wanted to do something special for the deceased members of our class.”

Thanks to a lantern donation by Tom DePietro of DePietro’s Pharmacy and special permissions granted by the Dunmore School District and Dunmore Borough, a lantern ceremony in honor of the nearly 40 deceased members of the Dunmore High School Class of 1966 will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. in the Dunmore High School parking lot. The public is invited to attend.

Despite facing resistance from the Class of 1966 reunion committee who, Longo says, changed their minds about having the ceremony as part of the reunion week festivities and are no longer involved with the event, plans are running smoothly.

“I was pretty shocked that the reunion committee decided not to support this project when they originally wanted to,” Longo said. “We’re at an age where there should be a lot of unity in our class. I’m really disappointed because I and the other volunteers just wanted to do something special in memory of our classmates.”

“We all have friends who aren’t here anymore and as the surviving class members, I think we have some responsibility to honor them in some way,” said Ann (Rizzo) Mellert, who is assisting Longo with gathering names and promoting the event. “They aren’t able to attend the 50th reunion and we want to keep their memories alive. It is hard to lose people, especially when they are your age.”

For Longo, this event might serve as an inspiration for other classes when planning their respective reunions.

“I can’t thank the Dunmore School District, Dunmore Borough Council and DePietro’s Pharmacy enough for their support,” Longo said. “I knew right from the start that this was the right thing to do. Hopefully other classes will do something special for their reunions, not necessarily lanterns, but maybe a balloon launch—just something special for the deceased members who can’t attend.”

Volunteers are still needed for the event. To volunteer, call Longo at (570) 880-7410.

 

Dunmorean of the Month: Stephanie Longo

By Steve Svetovich

Stephanie Longo Stephanie Longo is a positive person by nature. So it is easy to see why she is excited about her new position as director of marketing and communications for the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce.

Daughter of Ann Marie Longo, Dunmore, Stephanie, 312 William St., Dunmore, said she looks forward to her new position. “I am very excited about it,” she said. “I have always been a proponent of anything that brings a better view of Lackawanna County to the general area and to the world at large. I hope to use my talents to support the area I love.”

Stephanie, 34, and a 1999 Bishop O’Hara High School graduate, will be responsible for the management of the Chamber and its affiliates’ brands in the Greater Scranton community, including helping to generate positive media coverage for the Chamber and its affiliates, helping to grow its online presence and strategize, deploy and manage all facets of communication for its affiliates.

“I am very happy to be a part of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce,” she said. “Having grown up in the area, it is thrilling to see all that the Chamber has contributed to the local business landscape.

“I look forward to helping promote the Chamber’s initiatives and projects so that the community at large learns about all we are doing for the region.

“There are so many things the Chamber does that people are not aware of. The Chamber has a lot of affiliates who do a lot to support the community. There is a great benefit to your membership.”

Stephanie’s late grandfather, Joe Longo, was a well known barber on Chestnut Street in Dunmore. Her mom operated a beauty shop close by. “I never knew my grandfather, but heard so much about him. He is my hero.”

Stephanie has a broad background in journalism. She has a B.A. in Italian and French from the University of Scranton. She earned an M.A. in history from the University of Scranton and an M.A. in journalism from Regent University.

She is author of “The Italians of Northeastern Pennsylvania” and “The Italians of Dunmore.” Both are published by Arcadia Publishing. An award-winning journalist, she previously served as editor for the Abington Suburban and for The Villager newspapers. She was a correspondent for Go Lackawanna.

Stephanie will also be co-hosting “The Menu” at the Scranton Cultural Center.

“I love being a part of the Dunmore community and being a part of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber cares so much about the area. There is great passion from everyone who works here. You can feel it. The Chamber has given me a chance to spread my wings. And the Dunmore community is the best. It is a wonderful place to live.”

The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce serves Lackawanna County and surrounding areas. The Chamber’s mission is to attract,sustain and grow businesses and jobs in the region.

And with her attitude of always looking at the bottle as half full, Stephanie Longo is bringing her positive exuberance to the job.