for the Cousins of Angela Coniglio
In 1912, at the age of twenty-three, Gaetano Coniglio married Rosa Alessi, then
nineteen years old, in
Caltanisetta, Sicily. They lived in a region of Italy where
Gaetano had been a sulfur miner and a soldier in the Italian army. Dreaming of a
new life and new opportunities in America, Gaetano followed his brother Giuseppe
to the "new world" in 1913. Rosa (he called her "Rosina") had their
first child, Gaetano (Guy) in Serradifalco in December 1913, and a year later
she and the baby joined Gaetano in Pennsylvania.
In America, the family grew, and eventually settled in Buffalo. In addition to Guy, their children were:
Raymond, Felice (Phil), Carmela (Millie), Concetta, (Connie), Maria (Mary), Anthony (Tony), and
Angelo. Through Gaetano's and Rosa's hard
work, they became home-owners and saw their family flourish. Gaetano passed on
in 1944, but Rosa lived to welcome and revel in the birth of all twenty-seven of
Angelo married Angie Bongiovanni, and they had two kids;
youngest grandchild of Gaetano
and Rosa. Angela was a vibrant child who grew into a young woman with many
passions: sports of all kinds; competition; coaching; science and
biology; and teaching.
For years Angela played goalie on boys' hockey teams; she played hockey and
lettered in several other sports at Amherst Central High School; she
played soccer for thirteen summers in the Empire State Games; and she starred in
womens' soccer at Nazareth College, where she set school records for
single game assists and career assists. She's a member of the Athletic Hall
of Fame at Amherst High
. . . . . . .
. . . . . . . and at
After college, Angela taught junior and senior high school Science and Biology
courses, refereed girls' soccer, and coached girls' track, softball, basketball
and field hockey. She was an advocate for women and minorities throughout her
career. She loved teaching, and her students enjoyed her classes immensely. One
student told a story about how Angela once stood on her head and swallowed
gummy-worms in front of a biology class, to demonstrate the process of
This scholarship uses funds that Angela left on her passing, and is intended to
help her cousins achieve a goal she cherished: education. It is both a memorial
to and a gift from your cousin Angela.
The first seven recipients of the Scholarship were:
Miller, and Jackie Miller
2004, Julia Coniglio received the award, and in 2005 Chris
Tiranno was the 9th
recipient. In 2006,
received it, and in 2007, it went to
were two awards in 2008;
Greg Lang and
and three in 2009;
received it in 2010, and the 2011 recipient was
Skinner received it in
in 2013, and Alessi Miller
If you want to apply for this scholarship, please contact
Maria Sowa Valint,
a letter or e-message that states your relationship to Angela and the name of
the college or program to which you have been accepted.
Eligible for this scholarship are any of Angela's
cousins descended from Gaetano Coniglio and Rosa Coniglio; and the
children and grandchildren, etc. of those cousins.
The original funds from this award were from Angela's estate.
That amount has been augmented by contributions from Angela's
relatives, and twenty scholarships have been awarded in the past
twenty years. In that time, fund growth and contributions
have enabled the award to be increased from $200 to the present
Below is the letter submitted by Tim Valint.
Dear Aunt Angie and Uncle
I am writing to you for your consideration for the
Angela Coniglio Cousins Scholarship. I am the second –
and middle – son of Maria (Sowa) Valint, who was
Angela’s first cousin. Like my older brother, I was too
young to ever get to know Angela for myself, but from
what I hear, I think we would have enjoyed each other’s
company. My mother has many fond memories of her
childhood growing up with Angela, much the way I do with
my cousins. I often hear stories from her about Angela,
and every story has something in common with the others:
Angela’s propensity to make everyone smile.
I find that Angela and I would have many things in
common. I am a soccer player and an overall fit person.
From what I hear, Angela was an incredible athlete, good
enough to hold her own on the guys’ teams! I can only
imagine how much fun it must’ve been to play with her.
Another thing I have in common with Angela is that we
both have played the violin. I have played my violin in
5 different countries for countless different people. I
have also taught many young children in the Buffalo
Suzuki Strings program the beginning steps of learning
how to play the violin. As a teacher, herself, I can
only think that Angela would approve.
My mom has told me Angela was a great Biology teacher.
Seeing as that I am attending the University at Buffalo
in the fall majoring in Chemical Engineering with a
Biology track, I think we could have had quite a few
interesting intellectual discussions. This shared love
of science will help me to discover and achieve the
goals I set for myself in the future. I think that
Angela would require only one thing out of my education,
that I follow my heart and choose a career that I will
love and enjoy.
In the process of writing this letter, I am glad to say
that I learned a lot about a really special person! In
memory of my cousin Angela, I would be very much honored
to receive the Cousins Scholarship. This gift from her
is a way to keep Angela’s memory alive.