2003-06-20 / Columnists

Chatting with Chapey

Frank Pedagno And The Pursuit of Excellence
by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader
Chatting with Chapey


Frank Pedagno and Geraldine ChapeyFrank Pedagno and Geraldine Chapey

by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader

Frank Pedagno And The Pursuit of Excellence

Frank Pedagno has devoted his life to the pursuit of excellence.

Frank served as the Vice President for Operations at American Express.  He was the chief administrator for the South American and Mexican divisions of American Express until his recent retirement.  He was responsible for the development, implementation and evaluation of their financial offerings.   He is a born leader with demonstrated competence, effectiveness and accomplishments.

Fresh out of school, Frank began his career with American Express and quickly rose to important policy making positions with the Corporation.  Pedagno has had an outstanding career in business and finance. He graduated with honors with an MS degree in business from the University of Miami.  He is a graduate of Baruch College where he earned a BA degree in business management.

Frank has turned his competence and talent toward helping others to achieve the American dream.  He now volunteers his time to our Trinity Services and to the Open Doors Literacy Volunteers of America.

At the Literacy Program he tutors a European man whose family immigrated to the New York area. As a result Frank has had a profound and remarkable effect on this man and his entire family.  Each week Frank prepares his material for his tutoring.  He selects topics from magazines, books, newspapers and TV news stories.  By engaging his student in discussing current topics he is helping him to learn to speak English.

Frank’s student is a man who has graduate degrees in Philosophy from Europe. However, in America he had to take a lower level job because he has difficulty speaking English. As a result of his work with Frank, he has recently received a promotion at work to a position where he has more contact with the public. Through Frank’s efforts the whole family is progressing in their knowledge of English.

On June 4, the Literacy Volunteers of America held a Recognition Night entitled "Open Doors 2003 - Top Hats and Tales - Our Celebration."  At this event a book was published with the essays of the students who have participated in this program. It is truly amazing to read these individual’s essays. Frank’s student wrote his essay on "Life with God or Without God."  Each student chose his/her own topic based on their interests.  Frank’s student had an extensive background in philosophy which  guided him in selecting his topic. He notes in his essay that "according to statistics over 90% of Americans believe in God and after life".  He found that "beliefs and religious practices belong to important and common phenomenon of individual and collective human life".  He further finds that "I observe the American society with great interest. The philosophy of life and religiousness of Americans are different than Europeans’ in the sense that Americans are pragmatic and Eastern Europeans are more emotional."

The Program called Literacy Volunteer of America was formed by Ruth Colvin in Syracuse in 1962. The English as a Second Language Tutor Training Workshop was added in 1978.  In 1985, ABC and PBS co-sponsored a National Literacy Awareness Campaign Plus - Project Literacy U.S.

Frank Pedagno reports that the Literacy group is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year.  He told me that it was inspiring to meet the students and the mentors. You would be surprised at how interesting these essays are and how many different topics were chosen including "Slow and Steady Won the Race", "A Very Happy Day", "Changes," "A Celebration for Me in Germany," "The Hamamatsu Festival", "My Little Story with the English Language", "Dreaming is Free", "I am Happy I am Beginning to Read", "A Special Trip", "Our Impressions of the U.S. and Some Comparison Between the U.S. and Japan", "About Dreams", "My Life", "If I Want to Do Something I Can", "A Turkish Day of Celebration", "Coming to America", "A Celebration of My Sister’s Love", "Culture Gap", "Let’s Enjoy Origami", "Our Silver Wedding Anniversary", "Family Reunion", "The English and Me", "The Child Today Is the Man Tomorrow", "Something About Me", "She Couldn’t Believe It", "My New Life",

"Living in the French Quarter in New Orleans" and "My Country".

The titles of these essays show how diverse the interests of the students are.  It is very impressive to read them.

In addition to volunteering as part of the literacy program Frank volunteers as part of our management team at Trinity.  His business acumen and skill are extremely valuable.

Frank Pedagno has achieved the American dream. In addition he recently married his childhood sweetheart, Patricia Ippolito who is an administrator and flight safety specialist with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Please join us on Saturday, June 28 at 7 p.m. at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn for a USO Gala sponsored by the Rockaway Music and Arts Council.  There will be dancing with the Big Band sounds of George Gee in person, and his "Make Believe Ballroom" Orchestra coming to us straight from the wonderful Rainbow Room in New York City.


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