TSDIA Lodge 2817

We exemplify the very best of what it is to be Italian American

TSDIA             Lodge  2817 - We exemplify the very best of what it is to be Italian American


Triangle Sons & Daughters of Italy – Lodge 2817 – 2024 Scholarship Application

This year, our Lodge will award up to two (2) students with a $1,000.00 scholarship to be disbursed for the 2024/2025 school year. Scholarship winner(s) will be selected by May 2, 2024, and recognized at the TSDOI #2817 annual picnic on June 2. Additional details to be given to winners.

Students are eligible to compete for the scholarship if they meet the following eligibility criteria:

Must be a direct descendant of a TSDOI #2817 member (as of 12/31/23) of Italian lineage in good standing, regardless of residence. Applicant will be actively enrolled in post‑secondary education in the fall of 2024. All scholarship decisions will be at the sole discretion of the Scholarship Committee.

Applications will be screened by the TSDOI #2817 Scholarship Committee and will be based on:

  1. Educational quality
  2. The essay. The essay topic must be a typewritten original essay of 500-750 words about a personal experience that demonstrated or generated pride in your Italian heritage.
  3. Commitment to community and/or philanthropic endeavors
  4. Overall appreciation of Italian heritage.
  5. While not required, the applicant has the option to submit standardized test scores if the applicant wishes to do so.

Requirements for Complete Applications:

  1. Official 2024 Application Form: Complete all information in the application form and submit with the other required items.
  2. Resume: Please include academic and professional endeavors, community service participation, hobbies, special interests, employment, etc.
  3. Most recently available transcript.
  4. Essay in legible typed font.
  5. Submission of standardized test scores is optional.

Deadline for Complete Applications: April 2, 2024

Email scanned completed applications to: Karen Bledsoe at karen.bledsoe@gmail.com

Click here for the 2024 TSDOI Scholarship Application Form

Triangle Sons & Daughters of Italy – Lodge 2817 – 2024 Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to our 2024 scholarship winners, Elena Connor, and LUCIA RICCI WILLIAMS.

Elena Connor

I very pleased to announce Elena Connor as one of our Triangle Sons & Daughters of Italy Scholarship Winners. Elena is a direct descendant of 3 TSDOI Members, her mother Caroline Connor, and her grandparents Bob & Fran Giannuzzi.

Elena graduated from Cardinal Gibbons High School in May 2024 where she earned a GPA of 4.74. Her volunteer activities include a Music Program entertaining residents at a local nursing home, a Youth Member of the Triangle Sons & Daughters of Italy, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and Extracurricular Activities that include Classical Piano Training, Speech & Debate Team, Linguistics Club, and Newspaper Club. Her employment experience reflects her entrepreneurial spirit as a Piano Teacher and Pet Sitter. Her awards include National Merit Semifinalist, Junior Marshall, AP Scholar, and National Honor Society.

Elena has been accepted into a dual degree program between Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and Columbia University in New York City. Her majors will be Middle Eastern and European Languages & Cultures and Religion.

Elena’s TSDOI Scholarship Application essay reflects her Italian American pride and her great appreciation for the Italian American traditions passed to her from her immediate family. Here is a subset of what she wrote:

My Italian heritage is well-represented by my family, especially my grandparents. I was raised to be proud of it because it was made clear to me how rich and beautiful it is. While the experiences of seeing my great grandfather’s house in Italy and volunteering at Festa Italiana bolster my pride, simply being my grandparents’ granddaughter has instilled the most pride within me. Watching my grandmother stride around the Italian festival, into which she put so much work to help create, to make sure it runs as smoothly as possible shows me how important her culture is to her. The fact that my grandfather seemingly knows every single Italian family in the Triangle demonstrates the strength of the Italian community. My grandmother’s instinct to feed us and prepare the best food in the world for us has shown me the joy of making food with love to share with

family and friends and influenced my mother’s and my journey to perfect homemade pasta.

This pride has influenced my interests and my plan for my future. From manning a table at the Multicultural Fair at school to encouraging everyone I know to attend the Italian festival. I enjoy having the ability to share our traditions with others. I look forward to potentially studying Italian language and culture in college, where I can further deepen my connection to and knowledge of our rich history. I hope to travel to Italy again so that I can master the language, learn new traditions, and meet more people who share my heritage.


I am equally thrilled to announce Lucia Ricci Williams as one of our Triangle Sons & Daughters of Italy Scholarship Winners.  Lucia is an adult member of the Triangle Sons & Daughters of Italy.  She is a direct Italian American descendant of her mother Ricci Polsinelli Williams who is also a member of the Triangle Sons & Daughters of Italy.

Lucia has been a full-time student at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina since 2022.  She will be entering her Junior Year in Fall 2024 and is pursuing a degree in Business Management. Lucia has earned a Collee GPA of 4.0.

Lucia’s volunteer experience includes North Carolina State University Catholic Campus Ministry, Leading other college students in a Summer Memory Challenge of Scripture Verses, Monthly Elderly Relative Support, and for the past 5 years she has a created and leads her own private business which designs, produces, and sells greeting cards.

Lucia’s hobbies and interests include active participation in Triangle Sons & Daughters of Italy events particularly our Conversational Italian Meet-Up Group, Reading One Book Per Week primarily in Classic Literature and Non-Fiction History, Ballet & Dance, Travel, and Bible Study.

As Lucia reflected on her Italian American heritage, her essay included the following about family members who influenced her.

As I reflect on my Italian Heritage, it is hard to distinguish only one experience that generates pride and gratitude.  I am amazed each day as I acknowledge the contributions that Italians and Italian-Americans have made throughout history to every facet of life.  Despite the prejudice that people of Italian descent have faced, we continually rise to the top of every industry thanks to our fortitude and the support of our families and friends.

My Great Uncle John Runco attended UNC Chapel Hill on a football scholarship from 1958 to 1962. My Uncle John said that he sat down in the locker room on his first day at UNC and he thought to himself, “What am I doing here?” Despite the culture shock that he experienced, he excelled in both athletics and academics, and he graduated with a degree in Business Administration.

When I first stepped onto the UNC, I noticed all of the non-ethnic names of donors and students from

the mid-twentieth century. My Uncle’s name is now proudly inscribed on a stone at UNC’s Kenan Memorial Stadium – a testament to all the Italian immigrants who rose from poverty and assimilated into American culture through their dedication and perseverance. I am filled with pride and overcome with emotion each time I visit that campus. I am truly blessed to stand on the shoulders of loyal and disciplined relatives who taught me how to work hard, love deeply, and exhibit pride in both my Italian roots and my American citizenship.

Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America (OSDIA) Merit Scholarships:

Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America (OSDIA) also awards merit scholarships. For more information please click on this link: http://www.osia.org/programs/scholarships

Donate to the Scholarship Fund

Consider making a memorial contribution in the memory of a loved one.

If a donation of $750 or more is received as a memorial, the awarded scholarship will be named after your loved one.

You can donate on-line (see links below) or you can send your donation (any amount is welcome) in the form of a check, payable to TSOI -2817 to:

Treasurer: Mary Muth
115 Beasley Court
Cary, NC 27513

Please indicate if it is regular donation or a memorial donation.

Scholarship Donation $10

Scholarship Donation $25

Scholarship Donation $50

Scholarship Donation $100

Memorial Scholarship Donation $750

NOTE on TAX DEDUCTION: “Donors may wish to treat their contribution to the TSDOI Scholarship Fund as tax deductible since the funds are used exclusively for a charitable purpose dedicated to the advancement of education. TSDOI is a 501 (c) (8) organization (EIN: 20-1478107). Under the provisions of section 170 of the Code, donors may deduct contributions that are used exclusively for charitable and public purposes. The definition of charitable purposes includes the advancement of education.”