Mauriello Family Legacy Interview: Community Connections Matter

Three people stand shoulder to shoulder smiling at the camera in the lobby of a school building.
Lauren Pfaffenbach (left), with Vanessa Mauriello (middle) and Frank Mauriello (right).

Continuing in honor of South Colonie’s 75th Anniversary, the district has released the fifth installment of their legacy podcast series. In this episode, communications specialist, Lauren Pfaffenbach, sits down with a father- daughter duo from the Mauriello family. Frank Mauriello, class of 1975, shares his experiences growing up in Colonie and eventually raising a family of his own. Vanessa Mauriello, class of 2007, now an English as a New Language, or (ENL) teacher at Veeder Elementary school, followed closely in her father’s footsteps. She joined multiple organizations that he had also been involved in during his time as a student, leading to discourse surrounding how these clubs may have evolved over the years. The two discuss the importance of getting involved with both school sponsored extracurricular activities, as well as those that exist to serve the community at large. Their careers, while going in different directions, lead them both to become individuals looking to make a positive difference in the lives of those within their community. 

By exploring the differences that span generations- delving into what changes as time marches on, and what does not, the picture that is painted of Colonie is one of care and consideration. It is evident that both Frank and Vanessa had found that getting involved in school and outside of school had led them to their futures. Community driven clubs and events offered by the district opened their eyes to what it means to be part of something bigger, and the importance of maintaining connections throughout their community. These clubs and connections offered by the town and district seamlessly work together to support these messages of unity and compassion that still echo the halls of South Colonie today. By involving themselves in their community through jobs and clubs, it became evident that they had the ability to make a difference in the lives of others. Frank found this in the connections he made in sales and the feeling of helping others, taking this to the next step he embarked on his journey on the Colonie Town Board supporting the construction of parks and community driven projects seemed like a natural progression. Vanessa, determined and driven throughout her school career, took every opportunity she had to challenge herself. Through this she developed a love for education, noticing the changes in herself she set out to make those changes more obtainable for others. 

Despite the differences they experienced while in school that resulted in them taking their own unique approach to community driven career fields, the two agree that their roles in extracurricular activities- both within the district and otherwise, led them to become the people they are today.  Frank and Vanessa express appreciation and excitement for the future, seeing how Colonie has evolved before their eyes. New opportunities to get involved have sprung up rapidly, offering each generation a better set of tools to navigate the future than the last. 

Daydreaming about how she can instill a thirst for knowledge and a sense of community in her own children, Vanessa is determined that the next generation will understand the value of getting involved, just as she did thanks to her father. She plans to achieve this through gentle encouragement and persuasion, leading by example, and seizing every opportunity to introduce new experiences into their lives. 

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