Five athletes honoured, awarded scholarships for excellence in sports, academics and in the community

Italian Sportsmen's Dinner
From left to right Justin Gotta,Carlos Bagni, Hudson Maggipinto, Domenico Venturo (president of the Calgary Italian Sportsmen’s Dinner), Nicolas Auvigne and Aidan Miele. Photo by Neil Zeller

Mario ToneguzziSince its inception 56 years ago, the Calgary Italian Sportsmen’s Dinner Association has donated more than $1.89 million to various charitable organizations and schools throughout Calgary.

The association has been able to do that thanks to strong support from Calgary’s corporate and professional community, which either sponsors the association’s annual dinner or buys tickets to the tune of more than 800 for the event.

The event, which took place last Thursday night at Notre Dame High School, featured guest speakers Franco Harris, a National Football League legend, and Rocco Mediate, an American professional golfer.

The event also honours Calgary high school graduating students of Italian descent who have excelled in both athletics and academics, and will be pursuing a post-secondary education. Each student who submits an application to the Calgary Italian Sportsmen’s Dinner but is not selected receives a bursary between $500 and $1,000 and those selected each receive scholarships of $5,000.

This year, scholarships were awarded to Carlos Bagni, Aidan Miele, Hudson Maggipinto, Justin Gotta and Nicolas Auvigne.

Hudson Maggipinto, St. Francis High School

Maggipinto has had honours with distinction throughout junior and senior high school. He was involved in the Christmas food drive with St. Francis and Canadian Martyrs Church. He has volunteered with Calgary minor football. Maggipinto was on the St. Francis Browns football team that won the city and provincial championships in 2016 and on the city championship team in 2017. The linebacker was also a 2017 Calgary high school football all-star.

Aidan Miele, Notre Dame High School

Miele, a linebacker, has been a key member of the school’s successful football program for the last few years. Following his Grade 11 season, he won the program’s special teams of the year award. This past season, he was voted by his teammates as the most valuable player. He has also participated in track and field at Notre Dame. Miele has volunteered at Corpus Christi Church and at the school.

Carlos Bagni, Bishop Carroll High School

In three years at Bishop Carroll, Bagni represented the school on 16 sports teams through different sports – volleyball, soccer, rugby, track, badminton, swimming and basketball. He has also been an active member of the school community, including helping co-found Bishop Carroll’s Athletic Leaders Council, which promoted and raised awareness about the school’s athletic programs. At the community level, he has volunteered as a youth coach and in the Linkages program.

Justin Gotta, Queen Elizabeth High School

Gotta was heavily involved the past three years with the school’s rugby, and track and field (javelin, discus and 100-metre run) programs. His high school does not have a football team so his passion for the sport drove him to play for William Aberhart for the past three seasons. At Queen Elizabeth, Gotta was a teacher’s assistant for the physical education program and the high school yearbook photographer. He has also played minor hockey since he was five years old.

Nicolas Auvigne, St. Francis High School

Auvigne, an offensive lineman, was a member of the senior Browns provincial championship teams in 2015 and 2016 and on the provincial finalist team in 2017. In the past 30 years, Auvigne is one of only two athletes to have played as a senior starter in Grades 10, 11 and 12 and the only athlete to have played on three consecutive provincial finalist teams. He also volunteers as a coach in midget football, is a neighbourhood snow angel and a St. Francis open house representative.

Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.

Sportsmen's dinnerThe views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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