Four local residents were honored by the Josephine Foundation on June 12 at the annual “Follow Your Dreams” gala at the Crest Hollow Country Club.
Amanda Montoni, Colette Alfonso, Joseph Leone and J.K. Larkin were recognized for their accomplishments in the areas of theatre, sports and video production.
Montoni, of Floral Park, attended Sewanhaka High School and is a recent graduate of Pace University where she earned a degree in English with a minor in film and screen studies. She is a dance instructor at JJ’s Dance Studio in Floral Park and a summer instructor at A Class Act NY Acting Studio in NYC. Montoni participates in local community theatre as a performer and choreographer. She recently choreographed Hicksville High School’s production of Grease and Children of Eden at Sewanhaka High School.
Montoni is nominated for two “Josie” awards; Choreographer of the Year for Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Free Synagogue of Flushing and Best Performance by an adult female for her role as Sister Robert in Nunsense at Maggie’s Little Theatre.
Alfonso, of Bellerose Village, attended the Floral Park-Bellerose School and is currently an 8th grader at St. Mary’s Elementary School in Manhasset. She has performed in community theatre since she was seven years old. Her most recent role was that of Peter Pan in the St. Mary’s Jr. High Drama production. Alfonso is nominated for a “Josie” award for best performance by a female teenager for her role as Maria in The Sound of Music at St. Mary’s. She is also receiving the Robert Koslosky Scholarship Award in recognition of her participation and good sportsmanship in various team sports.
Leone, of Floral Park, is a senior at Floral Park Memorial High School and a student of the Sewanhaka School of Architecture and the ACE Mentor program at H2M Architects + Engineers. He is a three-time New York State PTA Reflections Program winner in the film production category and the recipient of the Amelie A. Wallace Arts-in-Education Award.
Last year, Leone won a national “Overall Excellence Award” from the Alliance for Community Media for his interview with Ed “The Glider” Charles from the 1969 World Champion NY Mets. He was also the vice president of the MSG Varsity Video Club, a National Honor Society member and a SkillsUSA gold medalist as the NYS champion in Architectural Drafting. Leone will be attending Marywood University School of Architecture in Scranton, PA and is receiving the Andrew Taraska Audio & Video Award in recognition of his successes in video production.
Larkin, of Bellerose Village, is a junior at Chaminade High School in Mineola. He has performed in many shows across Long Island. He is a past “Josie” nominee and recipient for his 2012 role as Edgar in Ragtime with the FSF Theater Company. He is also the host and producer of the show “Reali-teen” at 4 Village Studio (4VS) in Floral Park. He is nominated for a “Josie” award for Best Performance by a Male Teenager for his role as Lord Farquaad in Shrek the Musical at the Holy Child Jesus Teen Drama Camp.
The Josephine Foundation, founded in 2002, honors the memory of Josephine Koslosky, a woman who believed that by using arts and sports programs, young people and adults can reach for their dreams regardless of their background and financial status. She considered all people equal and if allowed to chase their dreams, anything was possible when given the opportunity. Koslosky encouraged everyone to get involved with these programs in their communities. She trusted that people could help each other raise funds to keep these programs alive and still have a great time doing it, all without financial burden. The Josephine Foundation raises money and distributes 100 percent of these funds to help give special individuals and approved programs an opportunity to achieve their goals in life. Visit www.thejosephine foundation.org for more information.