Dianne Montecuollo - Building Foundations And Dreams

Dianne Montecuollo

2010 Recipient

Dianne Montecuollo

New Milford High School named Diane Montecuollo one of the third annual recipients of the Raymond “Hap” Harrison Scholarship.  Miss Montecuollo is a member of the 2010 graduating class of New Milford High School. Starting in the fall of 2010, Diane Montecuollo will be attending the College of New Jersey.  Diane graduated at the top of their class and has overcome significant obstacles.


    Adam Leitman Bailey started this scholarship in honor of his high school cross country and track coach, Raymond “Hap” Harrison. The scholarship is awarded annually to a New Milford High School graduate.  Mr. Bailey is a 1988 graduate of New Milford High School.

    To receive the Harrison accolades, a recipient must possess many of the ideals and traits that Raymond Harrison instilled in Adam Leitman Bailey. The recipient must also demonstrate financial need and strong academic achievement, while at the same time pursuing Mr. Harrison’s deep-seated values of success and the desire to make the world a better place through helping others.

    To honor each year’s recipient, New Milford High School has designed and placed a large plaque in the halls of the high school for all students to strive and aspire to.


    Adam Leitman Bailey Gives Historical Tour to High School Students. The Tour Includes Visits to Federal Hall, the Site of George Washington’s First Inauguration, the Location of the Passing of the Bill of Rights, Ground Zero and the Federal Reserve.

    By Diane Montecuollo & Nick Borner

    Despite the failing economy, NMHS still holds stock in the stock market. Courtesy Adam Leitman Bailey, Joseph Tusa’s AP History class had the unique opportunity to tour through Wall street.

    Those who went to last year’s graduation ceremony may recall that Bailey was the honored speaker. Bailey is an alumnus of New Milford High School class of 1988, who completed his education at Rutgers University and Syracuse University College of LawMr. Bailey recently began to generously give back to NMHS. At last year’s senior awards dinner he donated a $10,000 scholarship in the name of Ray Harrison, former English teacher and G&T teacher, to a NMHS graduate who will be attending Rutgers University in 2008-2009. Last years recipient was Meryl Jacobs.

    On October 22nd, upon arriving in the city the AP history students assembled at the lobby of Adam Leitman Bailey‘s office. Bailey gave students a tour of many historic and significant buildings. At Federal Hall, students learned that the building was the location of the first capital of the United States, the site of George Washington’s first inauguration in 1789 and the location of passing of the Bill of Rights. Here, they also learned about the relevance and importance of the trail of John Peter Zenger in 1785 which granted us our freedom of the press.

    Another site visited was Trinity Church. For one AP History student, Alex Pak, Trinity Church was his favorite location because he learned that Alexandra Hamilton was buried there. Eve Mendelson felt that Hamilton’s grave was a “beautiful structure,” where she, “felt the presence of a great economic mind.”

    One signification attraction on the tour was Ground Zero. Bailey recalled the events of that tragic day, September 11th. Along with hundreds of other people, Bailey remember running toward the Hudson River and out of the harms way. Sheryl Mathew recalls the experience of visiting the site, “It was really emotion to see a place where so many people have died.”

    Many students enjoyed visiting the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the most important bank in New York City, and the most important federal reserve bank in the nation. Ian Campanelli liked this stop on the tour, she jokingly said, “That’s where they keep the money!” It was at this site that Bailey cleared up any concerning the financial crisis and $700 billion bailout occurring in our country today, in a way which 16-year-olds could understand.

    Overall, students felt the experience gave them a better understanding of Wall street and how the economy works. Students were grateful to Bailey. Mendelson states, “Everyone seemed to have a great time and Mr. Bailey was very generous to provide us with lunch.”

    “What I Learned Because of School,” New Milford High School blog post by Diane Montecuollo
    Excerpt from New Milford High School Principle Blog Post:

    Last month I unveiled the first ever guest post on my blog written by one of my students. The success and impact of this tiny experiment motivated me to seek out other students whose stories and reflections could provide an inspiration to educators from all over the world. It is my honor to introduce Diane Montecuollo, a senior at NMHS. Diane not only accepted my invitation to write this post, but she wrote it during the most hectic time for any senior just days before graduation.

    As my high school career winds down to only a few short days, I am forced to reflect upon my last 4 years at New Milford High School. Lately I have been asking myself questions such as what did high school really mean to me, what did it do for me, but most importantly, what did I learn? For me high school was a stepping stone, a four year experience filled with numerous opportunities and life lessons that have prepared me for college and beyond. And while most high schools are set up to give you the basic skills necessary for higher education or the workforce, I feel that New Milford High School presented me with so many unique opportunities and experiences that went above and beyond what other schools provide.

    One of my most rewarding experiences was my involvement in the Peer Leadership Program. With this program I was able to comfort frightened incoming freshmen during orientation, raise money to assist victims of the genocide in Darfur, and attend inspirational seminars about leadership and ethical issues. Through this program, I was able to develop and utilize my leadership skills. As a future Business Management major at The College of New Jersey, I know that leadership is going to be a very important aspect of my life. I hope to eventually own my own company, and without leadership skills my dream would not be feasible. Leadership is an integral part of my personality and character, and I credit my leadership abilities to activities like Peer Leadership, Business Club, and Mock Trial, all of which were offered to me by NMHS.

    A major life lesson that I took from New Milford High School is that you need to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. In the fall of 2009 I went on a field trip to Wall Street with my AP History class. The trip consisted of a tour of Wall Street, a visit to Alexander Hamilton’s grave at Trinity Church, a stop at The Federal Reserve, and then lunch at the historically significant Fraunces Tavern. Everything we did that day was thanks to Adam Leitman Bailey, a New Milford High School Alumnus. However, Mr. Bailey’s generosity did not end with that field trip. When it was time to get on the bus and head back to New Milford, Mr. Bailey handed me a business card and said to keep in touch. During the trip, Adam had mentioned that he was planning on continuing to reward a student with the Raymond “Hap” Harrison Scholarship, so I knew that I would be wise to hold on to his card.

    New Milford High School presented me with the opportunity to meet Adam Leitman Bailey, Mr. Bailey then presented me with the opportunity to add him as a contact, and I then took advantage of this opportunity by e-mailing. The next day I was called into Mr. Sheninger’s office, put on speaker phone with Mr. Bailey, and I was a co-winner of the Raymond “Hap” Harrison Scholarship this year.

    This experience showed me that you need to be able to recognize unbelievable opportunities and then act on them.

    What other principals and educators should take from this is that you can’t just hand your students everything. You need to teach your students the importance of leadership and taking charge, and then let them figure out the rest on their own. If you give them the skills and opportunities to do great things, and then allow them to seize opportunities on their own, you are giving your students guidance while allowing them to take responsibility as well. Independence and responsibility are two necessary skills for college students, and by building these characteristics in your students, you are setting them up for future success.

    Education must be about facilitating and guiding students in a way that empowers them to make decisions, provides support as needed, and encourages risk-taking. A school culture that is established based on these principles as well as those mentioned by Diane assists in ensuring the success of all students. I can’t thank Diane enough for clearly articulating how NMHS made learning meaningful and provided her with opportunities to take charge of her education. Her thoughts provide invaluable closure to a wonderful school year. Please share your thoughts as Diane will be reading the comments!


    2017 Raymond “Hap” Harrison Scholars Luncheon

    Dear Mr. Bailey,

    I would like to personally thank you for the scholarship for my daughter, Diane. This gift will greatly help finance her freshman year. You have given Diane many gifts already. Last summer she was an unsure teenager embarking on a big adventure. During the two months she spent with you she emerged as a confident young woman. She witnessed first hand how true professionals conduct themselves in the business world. Diane gained a glimpse into a world of success. It will motivate her to do her best in college.

    Last summer Diane was given an opportunity to meet a man who overcame obstacles. Our family had the opportunity to hear you speak at the 2008 awards dinner and 2008 graduation. 1 remember yom speech well and echoing your sentiments that my kids are lucky to have been raised in New Milford. This town has core values that serve people well during life. Our school system has dedicated professionals who care about the entire child. All four of my children were blessed to have Mr. Harrison as either a teacher or a coach. He taught them the importance of following their bliss and believing that the road Jess taken can sometimes be a great joy. As my family faced our own crisis this March, with the sudden death of my husband, we drew strength from our high school family and town family. I pointed this out to Diane that you found the same strength when you were in high school.

    I am sorry we did not get to personally meet at the awards dinner. Diane lit up when she saw you enter the room; she even whispered to me that she hoped the flowers were for her! She has great admiration and respect for you. Thank you for all you have done for my daughter. I would like to invite you and your wife to dinner at our house. It would be a pleasure to cook for you and to get to personally meet you. You have enriched our family in many ways. You are a true mensch and may God continue to bless you with good health, success and love.


    Lorraine Montecuollo