John “Al” Tiano Scholarship Fund
Est. 2016 by Linda T. Coppola.
When John Tiano passed away in 2004, his daughters began a scholarship fund in his memory to support Derby High School athletes.
“He and my mother, Barbara Mongillo Tiano, were proud graduates of the Derby High School Class of 1938,” explained daughter Linda Coppola.
“Because of his athletic abilities, he was awarded a four-year scholarship to Manhattan College in New York. It was quite an accomplishment in that era.”
John participated in football, basketball and track and field at Derby High School (DHS), and was a member of the legendary 1937-38 DHS basketball team known as the “Moxie Five”. But he was best remembered for his skill and running style in football. He earned the nickname “Al” from his East Derby friends, after Yale University football star Albie Booth. John even received a letter of interest from the NFL’s Detroit Lions, but instead chose to serve his country in the Army Air Corps during World War II.
To ensure that the scholarship will benefit DHS graduating seniors in perpetuity, Linda moved the fund over from a bank to the Valley Community Foundation.
“The staff at VCF made this transition very easy. They took the time to explain all facets of the fund. I am so pleased we made this decision.” Linda also said she feels good knowing that the scholarship will distribute money each year to a worthy DHS graduate.
“My family and I want this fund to continue long after we are gone,” she said. “We want to make sure that students who work hard and participate in more than one sport receive help in furthering their education, just as my father did. It made such a difference in his life, and we are so proud to honor his memory through this fund.”
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