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Antonio and Angelina Azzinaro Scholarship Fund
By Jean Cohoon / August 27, 2018 /   Loading Disqus...

This fund has been established in memory of Antonio and Angelina Azzinaro, who came to Rhode Island from Acri, Italy to seek work and to have better lives by escaping poverty in their native country.

In 1910, at the age of 26, Antonio journeyed to Westerly, obtained work, and secured a place for his family. Angelina joined him two years later with their two daughters.

Their family grew to eight daughters. The oldest three, after completing sixth grade, left school to work to help support the family. The other five daughters attended local schools and graduated from Westerly High School.

Antonio was a master shoemaker, a trade he learned in Italy. He both repaired and fabricated shoes for many years in his small shop on Union Street. Angelina stayed at home, cared for the children, and tended to the many domestic chores as was customary of the time.

Antonio learned to speak, read, and write English and became a citizen in 1919. Angelina and the two oldest children became naturalized citizens at the same time. The remaining six children were born into citizenship.

Antonio and Angelina, in 1935, purchased a parcel of land in Weekapaug, with access to the Winnapaug Pond. It became known as “The Lots”. It was used for many years by their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren as a gathering place for weekly summer picnics and to take advantage of the cool ocean breezes. The family enjoyed swimming, quahoging, boating, and cooking on an outdoor cook-top fireplace. They gathered on an extended picnic table to eat while enjoying the togetherness of the many family members.

It is the proceeds of the sale of this land that made this scholarship fund, designated for Westerly High School, possible. Antonio was a firm believer that education should be attained by all. Because of this, the descendants of Antonio and Angelina are honoring their legacy and wishes by helping deserving students further their educations.

“We’ve long been aware of the Rhode Island Foundation, its history, performance, and reputation. It was an easy decision that we would invest with the Foundation,” family members conclude.

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