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David Louis Cunha Foundation

Friends of the David Louis Cunha Foundation,

Part of David’s Foundation’s mission is to provide financial support to families with children living with life threatening medical conditions.  But David’s Foundation also reaches out to children in general who are in need of some compassion and assistance in their daily lives and to local groups and agencies who are committed to help those children.

As we have entered the last two months of the year with the holidays not being too far off, David’s Foundation appeals to you for your assistance.  If you should know of a family or group/agency that you believe the David Louis Cunha Foundation could assist, please let us know.

We will gladly consider any suggestion.  We are greatly indebted to all of our wonderful family and friends who have supported us for these last three years and we are always very conscious in how and who we donate our funds to.  That being said, any suggested  family or group/agency will be carefully reviewed for consideration.

Thank you all so very much for your continued support…and please help David’s Foundation successfully continue its mission.

Please use the form on our website to provide us the contact information we need to start this Christmas Giving process.  ALL information submitted will be kept proprietary to the DLC Foundation and NO recipients will be contacted without prior consent from you.

West’s Sova to direct ‘James and the Giant Peach’

Cranston_Herald
Sowa
Posted 

If you’d asked Sean Sova years ago if he ever thought he’d be directing a theatrical production as a high school senior, he would tell you, unequivocally, absolutely not.

However, this weekend makes Sova’s second directing debut for the Rhode Island Youth Theater program as he directs Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach Jr.” at the Park Theater in his hometown of Cranston. This past February, he directed the program’s production of “Peter Pan Jr.” over the school vacation week.

“I was shy as a kid, so I never did theater when I was young, but my cousin was in the RIYT and I always loved seeing his shows,” Sova said. “My older sister did some theater and I would watch her performances too.”

It wasn’t until Sova was in middle school at Hugh B. Bain Middle School, that he decided to take a risk and participate in Maribeth Orabone’s after school theater club as an actor.

“I played Eeyore in the Bain production of ‘Winnie the Pooh,’ in 2013,” he said.

At the time he was in the seventh grade.

“After that, I participated in the summer theater program at Bain and in 2014 I was in ‘Alice in Wonderland Jr.’ as part of the ensemble cast," Sova said. "It was fun to be part of that program and to do actual musicals rather than the plays I had done at school.”

From there, Sova was all in, participating in theater productions every chance he could.

“I went back to school and participated in the Bain productions when I was in the eighth grade and I was in a show over the February and April vacations and during the summer for RIYT,” he said.

As a high school freshman, Sova tried out for the Cranston High School West award-winning theater program, and was in ‘Pippin’ and ‘Radium Girls’ as a freshman, ‘Salute to Broadway’ and ‘Nora’s Lost’ as a sophomore and ‘Hairspray’ as a junior.

In the meantime, his performances for RIYT included ‘Pinnochio Jr.’ and ‘Shrek Jr.’ and Sova began to expand even further, performing for Stadium Theater in Woonsocket as well.

“I was in ‘High School Musical’ this past spring and I was in ‘Bring it On’ over this summer,” Sova said. “Right now I’m in ‘Footloose.’”

It means Sova has been working and participating in theater during his days, nights and weekends all summer long.

“It’s been a little bit busy,” he said.

However, his chance to direct came during his high school career, when RIYT’s Ann O’Grady asked Sova if he was interested in directing a future show. Although it was a completely unexpected proposal, Sova jumped at the chance.

“As I got older, I was too old to be in the shows, but I still wanted to participate, and I’d asked Ann about volunteering, and instead she asked if I would direct,” he said. “To take that on, you intern for two shows prior to your own show, with the current directors. You go to all the rehearsals for those shows and you work tech for those shows. I did that for ‘Annie Jr.’ in 2016 and for ‘Music Man Jr.’ in 2016.”

Now Sova is about to direct his second show for the company.

“I am co-directing this show with a girl who is doing most of the dance scenes, and I am focused mostly on the songs in the show,” he said.

Sova said that being a show’s director is no easy task and involves a lot of preparation ahead of time in order to be ready to help lead the cast.

“I received the script and I read it over and over again, probably ten times,” he said. “Then I watched the original movie, I watched songs on YouTube to get a general idea of how the show goes.”

Now, Sova has had input on key decisions such as how the various scenes will look, and has helped to guide his cast in practicing for the show.

“One of the hardest things is that the show is done all with British accents,” he said. “That’s always interesting, teaching them to talk in a different accent.”

If Sova had his choice, he still prefers acting over directing, although he is enjoying his role.

“It’s still a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s awesome to get as much experience as possible.”

In the fall, he’ll be returning to the Cranston West theater program as he starts his senior year and continues his college search and decision-making process.

“I’m not sure if I’ll major in musical theater or not, but I might minor in it,” he said. “I definitely want to still be involved in community theater. I also have been thinking about the idea of going into teaching and being involved in school theater programs in that way and still do community theater on the side.”

No matter what lies ahead, Sova is thankful that he took a risk in middle school and made the leap into the Bain theater program.

“I was so afraid then, and I still get so afraid now when it comes to auditioning, but it’s so much fun," he said. "I’m so glad I did it.”

‘James and the Giant Peach’ will play at the Park Theater on Aug. 25 and 26. A show will take place at 10 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 25. All tickets for that performance will be $10. Shows will also take place at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25 and 7 p.m. Saturday, August 26.

Tickets for those shows are $10 in advance, $12 at the door or online (Includes a $2.00 convenience fee).

For more information, visit the Rhode Island Youth Theater website, riyt.org/whats-new/now-playing.

Auditorium Progress!

AMAZING!!!

It's truly amazing what can be accomplished when a community comes together to make a difference! Looking forward to unveiling the new Alumni Auditorium at Cranston High School West in the coming weeks! Thank you to everyone who supported this project! #CranstonProud #FalconsForLife#AuditoriumRenovation #CranstonWest #Alumni #NewSeats Cranston West Alumni Association

August 21, 2017

July 7, 2017

Falcons ROCK!! Check out the progress we've made!!

August 12, 2017

July 7, 2017

Expand The Tabs Below To Find Out How You Can Help

More About The Restoration Project

Alumni Auditorium Restoration Project - The Falcon Legacy Shines Bright!

The newly formed Cranston West Alumni Association, Inc. is delighted to announce a fundraising campaign to renovate the Cranston High School West Auditorium.

All of us who attended Cranston West sat in the auditorium many times for assemblies, concerts, and pep rallies. Some of us even remember singing, dancing, acting, or playing a musical instrument on stage. Now, as alumni, we can take pride in giving back and help restore the failing auditorium.

We, the CWAA, need to raise a total of $200,000 for the renovation of the auditorium. Along with seat sponsors, the CWAA is actively seeking corporate sponsors and grants to fund the renovation that will include new seats, carpet, and paint through‐out.

The CWAA is offering you an opportunity to become a part of the high school’s history and to support current and future Cranston High School West students.

Don’t be left out! Seats will be sold on a first come first served basis. Each of the 673 seats in the soon to be renovated auditorium will have an attractive plate mounted on the seat. You are invited to sponsor a seat and have your message displayed on the back. You may want to honor or memorialize a friend or relative, celebrate a reunion, or feature your business. Sponsoring a seat is a thoughtful gift for a graduation senior, birthday, holiday, or anniversary.

Please read the attached Sponsorship_Forms to learn how you can sponsor a seat in the soon to be renovated Cranston High School West Alumni Auditorium. If you have any questions please feel free to contact David C. DiMaio at (401) 588‐1313.

“Once a Falcon always a Falcon”

Click Here for Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsor Levels
Platinum Falcon $5,000.00 - Sponsorship of one of the three areas listed below:

  • The Back Right Handicap Seating Area.
  • The Back Left Handicap Seating Area.
  • The Back Center Video/Sound Board Area.

Sponsor will receive:

  • Permanent signage in sponsored area.
  • Permanent signage on all seats located the sponsored area.
  • Web link located on the Cranston West Alumni Association web site.
  • Email blast to all Cranston West Alumni Association Members.
  • Banner recognition at dedication ceremony.
  • Recognition in the dedication program book.

Gold Falcon $750.00 - Sponsor will receive:

  • A gold plaque with your personal message on the back of one of the front row seats. (Only 26 available)

Silver Falcon $500.00 - Sponsor will receive:

  • A silver plaque with your personal message on the back of one seat in rows 2 through 4. (Only 83 available)

Bronze Falcon $200.00 - Sponsor will receive:

  • A bronze plaque with your personal message on the back of one of the remaining seats. (Only 556 available)

(All seat assignments will be made on a first come first served basis.)

Click Here for Online Sponsorship Forms

First Name (required)

Last Name (required)

Telephone (required)

Your Email (required)

Home Address

Street

City

State

Zip

Business Address

Company Name

Company Address

Company City

Company State

Company Zip

Sponsorship Level
Platinum - $5,000Gold - $750Silver - $500Bronze - $200

Engraving:

Line One, 25 letters/spaces. Name to be engraved on plate:

Engraving:

Line Two, 25 letters/spaces. Year of Graduation or alternate information:

Please proceed to payment portal below:

Pay by Credit Card or Paypal

Pay by Credit Card or Paypal

Local grads seize diploma, first job in one week’s time!

Local grads seize diploma, first job in one week's time

Posted 

In the classroom one day, on the job site the next.

On the evening of June 16, the seniors at the New England Laborers’/Cranston Public Schools Construction Career Academy experienced a life milestone: graduation from high school. That evening 25 students took hold of their diploma and walked off into the next chapter of their lives. For some, that chapter will be a post-secondary program or serving their country. For others, that next chapter will be heading right into the workforce, and for some, that first job came sooner than later as they took part in a historic renovation project right in their own city.

As the Cranston High School West auditorium undergoes its first renovation in its 54-year existence, the graduates from the NEL/CPS have found themselves jumping right into a job opportunity, less than one week from graduation.

The project began bright and early on the morning of June 22, and the NEL/CPS grads were on hand to put four years of education and training to work. Hard helmets on, bright yellow shirts and reflective vests dotting the auditorium space, the grads and their co-workers from the Laborers Union worked side-by-side, ripping out row after row of seating and pulling up carpeting. Sparks flew as tools, which had previously been used in the classroom lab setting, were now being used in the field.

The significance of this opportunity is not lost on Adam Lupino, Regional Policy Coordinator for the Laborers’ Union, who sees it going far beyond the manual labor being done.

“This is a natural fit for our NEL/CPS graduates,” he said. “It’s the first job they’re on, and they are able to give back to their community at the same time. This is where they live. It’s a place they care about and fulfills our union's commitment to community service.”

In fact, it was at the graduation ceremony that Chris Sabitoni, son of the school’s co-founder Armand Sabitoni, spoke of the many opportunities the students have had in their four years to give back to their community while learning the construction trade. This includes the work on the new front walkway at another Cranston public school, the Hugh B. Bain Middle School, and the upcoming job which would be taking place at Cranston West just one week later. In addition to the physical work being done, a collection of plastic bottle caps was being taken on the job site last week as waters were being consumed, each cap helping to defer the cost of a dialysis treatment for the child of someone connected to the project.

“We work hard to connect with the community on so many levels,” Lupino said. “We value giving back.”

According to Lupino, much of the instruction at the charter high school, which just hit its 15-year milestone, includes a focus is on building construction careers for the students.

“The school is a pathway for construction careers for our students and we are very proud of that,” he said. “Apprenticeship is the other four-year degree, where you can earn while you learn. We build things; roads, bridges and structures, but most importantly we build lives. These students are the newest members of our apprenticeship program with opportunity to build their skills on the way to a family supporting construction career."

CW auditorium project a true group effort!

Cranston West auditorium project a true group effort!

PROUD ALUMNI: David DiMaio, was just one of several alumni association members and project organizers on hand last week as the first seats were taken out of the auditorium, making way for new more comfortable seating to come in later this summer.

Posted 

Fifty-four years after the Cranston High School West auditorium was installed, it is getting its very first, much-needed overhaul, thanks to the Cranston High School West Alumni Association (CHSWAA) and its partnership with the Cranston Public Schools, the City of Cranston, the Local 271 Laborers’ Union and the New England Laborers’ Cranston Public Schools Construction Career Academy. A project 18 years in the making, it finally came to fruition on the morning of Thursday, June 22, and according to CHSWAA president David DiMaio, although the project is important, it’s the partnership he values most.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time that a project like this has ever been done this way, pulling in all these different groups around the city for this one goal,” he said. “It just shows that if people work together we can accomplish these types of goals.”

Fellow association members, alumni and Cranston High School West employees Karen Casale and John Fontaine agree, and were also on hand last Thursday morning, checking out the demolition of the auditorium seating space, sharing photos of the project now underway, and discussing the overall project goal.

Said goal is a total overhaul of a space that seats over 700 guests and hosts dozens of community events throughout the year. The Cranston West auditorium is not just used by Cranston West, but rather is utilized by schools and community groups across the city, thanks to its ability to accommodate large groups and events. The venue has also been used for regional events in the past, such as last spring’s Rhode Island Drama Festival and the New England Drama Festival several years before that.

“Ultimately, the bigger goal is for former students to be able to give back to current students so that the current students can succeed in the future,” DiMaio said of the alumni association’s mission. “Our motto is ‘Once a falcon, always a falcon,’ and we believe that. We have all come back to make things better for those students who are here now and those who will come after them in the future.”

DiMaio and the alumni organization have seen local business owners and community groups coming together to host fundraisers, attend events and make donations, all supporting the auditorium project. He hopes that this ongoing support, which has gained momentum over time, will continue.

The CHSWAA launched their auditorium renovation fundraiser at the 2015 Thanksgiving football game 18 months ago and the project has gained momentum over time, with seat sponsorships selling quickly. However, DiMaio said that despite the fact that the project is underway, there is still additional funding needed and there are still seat sponsorships available. He notes that in addition to the need for additional monetary donations, in-kind donations are also a need for materials and services.

“This is an ongoing project with several goals,” he said. “Right now we’re working on the seating, the carpeting, the lighting, but we have other goals for this space we’d like to accomplish next. We’d like to continue to improve this auditorium indefinitely.”

He cited one such improvement goal, to air condition the space, as a future goal that is a need. A recent mid-June event held in the auditorium by a local community organization saw temperatures reaching nearly 100 degrees inside and backstage. However, each improvement is costly and DiMaio hopes more donations will continue to roll in.

“As a non-profit organization, it’s hard for the school to support the needs of its students in these tough financial times,” he said. “It’s been 54 years and there have been no improvements to this space until now.”

To sponsor a seat, make a monetary donation or an in-kind donation to the CHSWAA auditorium renovation project, contact David DiMaio at 588-1313, davidcdimaio@gmail.com or Karen Casale at kcasale@cpsed.net. Visit the organization’s Facebook page to keep up with the progress of the renovations and to learn about upcoming events at www.facebook.com/cranstonwestalumniassociation/.

Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series on the renovations at Cranston West. Part II will appear in next week’s edition.

Cranston Herald

Posted Wednesday, May 3, 2017 5:24 pm
By Jacob Marrocco

The Cranston City Council Finance Committee unanimously passed a resolution Monday night in support of renovations to the Cranston High School West auditorium, asking the administration to “supplement” the funds and efforts of the project.

Cranston West Alumni Association President David DiMaio spoke to the committee about the money raised thus far totals upwards of $100,000. The goal is $200,000 and the project would get underway after graduation.

City assistance could come through funds or extra workers to assist in the process. According to Finance Director Robert Strom, there is no money allocated in the budget specifically for this endeavor.

“We took a lofty goal on 18 months ago to raise enough money to repair the auditorium,” DiMaio said. “That is the first place any student will see when they walk into the institution. It’s just horrendous. I would like to say that it in any other manner, but it hasn't been repaired since 1963. We’re looking for any support.”

DiMaio said a schedule has been established for work on what will be dubbed Cranston West Alumni Auditorium. It has been approved at several levels, and the remaining steps are to raise more funds and get the renovations completed. He mentioned the renovations might be necessary anyway with any potential accreditation visits in the future.

The initial $100,000 was raised in a variety of ways, including individual and corporate sponsorships of the 673 chairs that will be featured in the new auditorium. Sponsors could contribute at bronze, silver, gold or platinum levels, ranging from $200 to $5,000.

Gold-level sponsors will have a personal message engraved on a plaque on the back of a front-row seat, of which there are only 26 available. Silver would receive the same treatment in rows two through four, while bronze would take up the remaining seats.

Platinum-level would receive, among other amenities, recognition at the dedication event and sponsorships of either the back right or back left handicap seating area or the back center video/sound board.

“Each seat will be numbered, each aisle lettered, the venue could be used to actually generate some money for the city,” DiMaio said. “We will have handicap seating with companion seating. We will have 16 handicap seats, 16 companion seats. Whatever support can be made in council or committee would be greatly appreciated.”

DiMaio said that lettering the aisles and numbering the seats would make the auditorium easier to rent out, which could generate money for the city.

“I just would like some support to try to finalize this and show the community can come together and actually complete a project they say they’re going to start.”

DiMaio added that the minimum goal is $150,000, but the extra $50,000 would come in handy should seats break or emergencies occur down the line.

“Our ultimate goal is to raise $200,000 to have some funding in escrow in case of an emergency,” DiMaio said. “If it’s rented it generates money and we can get another 53 years out of this one.”

The support for the resolution was overwhelming. Council President Michael Farina, a West graduate himself, said it is a “great project.”

“As a graduate of Cranston West, this is something I hold close to my heart,” Farina said. “I know the East auditorium was done with some CDBG [community development block grants] money and it still looks very good. Through this resolution, we can let people know this is something we’re passionate about.”

Citywide councilman Ken Hopkins, who has put three kids through West, also voiced his support.

“I want to congratulate you with the work you’ve done, and I encourage people to take part in this,” Hopkins said. “I would encourage it anywhere I can.”

The backing crossed party lines as citywide councilman John Lanni Jr., who doesn’t serve on the committee, encouraged passage as well.

“It’s asking [administration] to help out to fix the auditorium if they can, not demanding, not making an ordinance, not tearing the budget apart,” Lanni said. “Simple request. At least maybe this can get out to the general public. More people are aware, more people will contribute.”

While the measure passed unanimously, there was some concern from Ward 1 Councilman Steven Stycos and Ward 3 Councilman Paul Archetto. While both liked the intent of the resolution, and even offered support of it, both saw more pressing matters within the district.

“It’s a feel-good resolution, but the school department is $800,000 in the hole, so I really can’t see where the money’s going to come from for the Cranston West auditorium,” Archetto said.

Stycos had similar concerns to Archetto, though it is worth noting neither are on the finance committee. Ward 2 Councilman Paul McAuley is the only Democrat who voted on the resolution.

“We have a problem with the school budget and this is a school-related project,” Stycos said. “Implication is there could be funds. It’s great to ask the public to supplement the funds, but asking the admin gets us into an area we should not be in. If the school department wants to spend money on this, it’s their call, not ours. There are certainly more important projects in the schools than this one.”

Once discussion closed, the Cranston West graduates on the committee were informed they did not have conflicts of interest and the vote was taken.

Anyone interested in donating can visit www.cranstonwestalumniassociation.org for more details.

Cranston West Alumni Scholarship

All students who are planning on attending college and/or a trade school are eligible for the newly formed Cranston West Alumni Scholarship.  Two scholarships will be awarded – one female and one male.  Each will be in the amount of $500.  

Essay Requirement for scholarship: Describe how your community service project has taught you an important life-lesson that you may not have learned in the classroom. Maximum: 250 words.

Service is something you have done because you wanted to help, not something you had to do as a requirement. For example, you may have volunteered at a homeless shelter, organized a clothing drive for the poor, helped out at a soup kitchen, organized a special event for students, etc.

Completed applications are due on Thursday April 13th, 2017. You can submit completed application with Mrs. Karen Casale in room C1-2 (Cafe) or to Mr. Schiappa, Assistant Principal by 4pm on 4.13.17 to be sure they have been recieved. Any late or incomplete application will be ineligible for the scholarship.