Grippo, LaCorte To Be Named ‘Warriors For Life’ At Annual Gala

Nancy LaCorte and Bill Grippo will be honored as “Warriors for Life” Nov. 23 by the Warrior for Life Scholarship Foundation.

A school district official and a prolific fundraiser and former politician have been named the 2018 “Warriors for Life” by the Warrior for Life Scholarship Foundation.

Board of Education President Nancy LaCorte and Bill Grippo, principal of McAfee Road Elementary School, will receive their awards at the Nov. 23 gala.

The Warrior for Life Scholarship Foundation was founded in 2017 “to generate scholarships for students in Franklin Township who exhibit excellence either in academics, athletics, service, social conscience, and philanthropy,” Nick Solomon, one of the foundation’s organizers, said at least year’s inaugural gala. “We wanted to create a foundation that mimics who we are. We wanted to make sure we had a foundation that really supports and represents the type of students we were in Franklin Township, the type of students we know that are Franklin Township.”

Last year, the foundation awarded $10,000 in scholarships to six high school seniors and three college freshmen.

Rebekah Solomon, another of the foundation’s co-founders, said LaCorte and Grippo were selected after the founders nominated a pool of names, then voted on two.

LaCorte, who also works for the Franklin Food Bank, was chosen as a Warrior for Life “due to her volunteerism and giving spirit as evidenced by her work as the donor development coordinator and events planner at the Franklin Food Bank,” Rebekah Solomon, one of the foundation’s co-founders, said in an email.

LaCorte, a Franklin High School alumna, has been a school board member for 12 years. She was also named one of 2018’s “Outstanding Women of Somerset County” by the Somerset County Commission on the Status of Women.

“Nancy has worked on political campaigns, township committees, nonprofits and events that bring Franklin Township together,” Rebekah Solomon wrote. “We believe that through her years of service to our children and community, Nancy is a Warrior for Life!”

LaCorte said her selection came as a surprise.

“I was totally shocked and extremely flattered when Nick Solomon called me to say I am being recognized as a Warrior for Life,” she wrote in an email. “I don’t think of what I do in life as extraordinary or deserving of an award – I just do the best I can.”

“I don’t think that we can ask others to do things that we are not willing to do ourselves,” LaCorte wrote. “A Warrior for Life should be someone who does what they can to do the best for Franklin. A Warrior for Life does it because they care.”

Grippo has served as principal in several township schools, as well as a Township Councilman. But he may be best-known for his formidable fundraising abilities.

Grippo led the effort in the 1980s to rebuild the Villagers Theatre, as well as the more recent campaign to raise funds for a new HV/AC system in the building. For the past few years, he’s led the fundraising campaigns for the township’s annual July 4 celebrations, and he was responsible for getting donations for a new playground at McAfee Road School.

“Bill has positively impacted children in this township since 1977 as he has served as principal in several of the schools within the township,” Rebekah Solomon wrote. “We believe that Bill’s selfless commitment and dedication to our children make him a Warrior for Life!”

Grippo said he thought of three words when he was told of the hour, “pride, loyalty, gratitude.”

“I have always been proud of our school system and have done everything I possibly could in promoting its image and the value of its rich diversity,” he wrote in an email. “I am proud to have served in so many various roles both volunteer and professional.  Certainly proud to have made an positive impact in so many areas of the community life.”

“My personal mission statement has been:  ‘Enhancing Community Life in Franklin Township,” he wrote.

“I have a deep sense of loyalty to what the Warrior Way symbolizes and as any valued Warrior in any campaign defending its good name and reputation wherever possible,” he wrote. “By deciding to move to Franklin in 1977 and creating family, community and five children it was the best decision I could make to raise and reside the family right her in Franklin Township.”

“I am thankful each day for my family; their health and success are paramount to me,” he wrote. “I am most grateful that their life has been balanced and built on family values and values that they found in our public schools. They each admire their former teachers and coaches.  Whether on the main stage of Franklin High School, on the tennis courts or in the classrooms they owe a great deal to their teacher mentors.”

“It is easy to me to say that I am extremely grateful to have been under the Warrior banner just about my entire professional life in educational and community leadership,” Grippo wrote.

Tickets for the second annual gala are available and may be purchased here. The event is set for Nov. 23 at The Imperia on Easton Avenue.


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