Steven Melley and Mary and Gus Nuzzolese were honored as Founders of Chaminade High School at the annual Founders Dinner Thursday. Among the highest honors given to a member of the Chaminade Family, the Founders Award is presented to individuals who have exemplified the school's mission – their dedication has been outstanding in the continuous creation of the Chaminade idea.
Recipients range from faculty members, parents, students, alumni, alumni parents, grandparents, and friends. The Founders Award is a special recognition which reminds us that Chaminade is the work of many, and we stand on the foundation poured by those before us.
Blessed William Joseph Chaminade told retreat participants in 1817 that, "The Blessed Virgin Mary has chosen us, to have us in a very special family." The Marianist mission followed by that "Family of Mary" for the last 200 years has included brothers, priests, sisters, and lay Marianists. Stephen Melley has exemplified what it means to live as a lay Marianist.
Steve has been a part of Chaminade's story since 1984, and during the next 30 years, his connection to the school, its students, or its families never wavered. Michael '88 was Steve's first son to enroll; Daniel '92 followed his brother's path. Steve had two other sons and a daughter with his wife, Catherine, who passed away in 1989. One of his 13 grandchildren, Collin Ruggeberg, is currently a Chaminade sophomore.
After his sons completed their Chaminade education, Steve remained a visible presence on the campus. He has held leadership roles in the Chaminade Alumni Parents Association (CAPA). He has served as the president, secretary, and treasurer. As a volunteer, Steve assists with CAPA's annual mailings, and is a friendly face at tuxedo distribution for graduating seniors. Steve also assists in the operations of the annual Golf and Tennis Open – a major event for the Chaminade Family full of conviviality in no small part thanks to Steve.
Current students have had the chance to learn from Steve as a moderator of a Sodality group. He has grown to know his sodalists well – the same participants remain in the group for all of their four years at Chaminade and discuss topics in a faith-based environment every week. Those sodalities were early incarnations of Fr. Chaminade's Society of Mary; and Steve continues their work today.
Countless members of the Chaminade Family have been touched by Steve's involvement, kindness, and spirituality. Indeed, Stephen Melley's many contributions to Chaminade are blessings that have made all of us better.
Mary and Gus '76 Nuzzolese
If you've been to any Chaminade Flyers football game or an alumni event, chances are you have seen Mary and Gus Nuzzolese there. They are a team, themselves, having known each other since they were first graders at St. Peter of Alcantara School in Port Washington.
Gus graduated from Chaminade in 1976; during commencement, he was named the Joseph F. Thomas Student-Athlete Award recipient. The Captain Joe Terzi Award also went to Gus as the most valuable player on the varsity football team. The school has always been close to his heart. In fact, Gus has worn his class ring ever since his days as a student.
Tireless advocates for Chaminade, Gus has served as the chairman for each of the 1976 class reunions. He is very active on the Alumni Board, completing terms of both president and vice president. He insisted on attending every chapter event. Mary and Gus are always at the annual Golf and Tennis Open, with Gus on the committee and Mary serving as a volunteer for the events of the day along with her mother. Gus also chairs the Alumni Day of Recollection – a day of spiritual renewal and fraternity held annually at Meribah.
Just as it is a source of spiritual renewal for Chaminade's students, Meribah holds special significance for the couple. Mary coordinated volunteers for the weekly upkeep of the retreat house in her role as vice president. She would also tend to the spiritual house of the volunteers, including a reflective period of prayer in each day's work. That grew to become an annual Marian Monday at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception – coordinated by Mary (with Gus at her side) and regularly attended by more than 200 people.
The Marianist mission is their mission. We honor Mary and Gus for illustrating that dedication by their lives. As past-presidents of the Parents Club, they have served the parents and the school, even running the Founders Dinner. Together, with the Chaminade Family, they exemplify Fortes in Unitate!