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 interned at Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. during the summer of 2009.  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.

    “… throughout this summer I have grown and become an independent young woman who is ready to take on anything.”
    My summer at ALB, By Diane Montecuollo

    When I first met Adam Leitman Bailey I knew right away that he was passionate, charitable, and successful, but what I didn’t know was that he was the man who was going to give me the opportunity of a lifetime. On the day I was offered the internship at Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. (ALB, P.C.) I was sitting in my fourth period class not knowing that I was about to receive some very exciting news. My principal, Mr. Sheninger came into the classroom and asked my teacher if he could borrow me for a minute. When I walked into his office I saw his phone was off the hook, and he told me that there was someone on the phone who wanted to speak to me; lo and behold it was Adam Bailey. When Adam told me that he wanted me to come work for him this summer I was so happy I was near tears. I finally felt like my hard work had paid off — all the studying, extra curricular activities, and countless hours of homework had enabled me to qualify for such a prestigious honor. My parents were at first a little surprised because they didn’t know that I had taken the initiative to try to get the internship, but they were happy and proud because they realized that it was going to be a wonderful experience.

    When my first day finally came I had mixed feelings. I was definitely excited to start interning, but I was also fearful about starting work in the biggest metropolis in the world, at age 17. I was comforted that my older brother, Michael, had agreed to come with my first day to show me how to get my train tickets, transfer stations, and find the office. Although manipulating the train didn’t seem too hard, I still worried about what the office of ALB, P.C. would hold. When I got to 120 Broadway I felt like it was September of 1997 and I had just arrived at Berkley Street Elementary School for my first day of Kindergarten, only this time I wasn’t holding my mom’s hand and I was carrying an O’Neil purse instead of a Barbie lunchbox. My brother gave me a hug and wished me good luck, and I walked away knowing that I needed to take a deep breath and be brave.

    I was instantly surprised with how friendly everyone in the office was. I was expecting to find frantic lawyers drowning in paper work that didn’t have enough time to breathe, let alone say good morning to an intern. I was pleasantly surprised, however, that the staff was not only extremely hospitable, but went out of their way to make me feel very comfortable. I instantly forgot about my fears and started to focus on how I could contribute to the office. Right off the bat, I was impressed by the work ethic and passion of the lawyers. Some mornings, I would come in and look at the time sheet, and see that people had come in at the crack of dawn, and others hadn’t left until midnight the previous night. It became very clear early in the summer that ALB, P.C. is one of the best real estate law firms in all of Manhattan because the entire firms gives one hundred and ten percent at all times.

    Other than learning how to do typical office jobs, such as scanning, typing, and filing, my summer at ALB taught me a lot. First and foremost, I learned about the law. Adam and the attorneys demonstrated to me all the hard work, long hours, and research that go into winning a case. I found it quite surprising that many cases are settled before they even get to Court. Though I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see a heated argument, I appreciated and respected that the attorneys’ hard work did not go to waste.

    Even though my summer internship was for a law firm, I learned about other career paths. ALB, P.C. is not just a law firm, it’s a business, and as a business man Adam has to make sure he does his part to feed the 30 families that depend on him. If in the future I ever decide to open my own business I will try to emulate Adam’s business tactics and strategies to try and reach the level of success he has. The most important business lesson I learned from Adam was the importance of customer service. If you hi re ALB, P.C. you will not only be treated like gold, you will accomplish the goals that brought you to the firm in the first place.

    Another valuable skill I gained while working at 120 Broadway was how to use the subway system and find my way around Manhattan. It has always been a goal of mine to work in the city, and now I feel like I have an advantage for when I graduate college and start my career in the big city. Public transportation didn’t just teach me how to get around, it taught me how to be independent. Going into Manhattan every day by myself was a maturing experience that will be beneficial when I leave for college next fall.

    Reflecting on the summer I can honestly say that I didn’t just learn law, I learned life lessons. The most important thing that Adam taught me is the importance of giving back. Before I started working for Adam I already respected him because of all the good things he was doing for my school. The year my brother Thomas graduated New Milford High School, Adam gave the commencement address, and his story about his battle to recover after his car accident was inspiring. It taught me that you should feed off doubt and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Adam’s phone never stops ringing and he is constantly being e-mailed, and yet he finds the time to do charity work. The fact that he takes time out of his busy schedule for good causes is something I really respect about him. Adam Leitman Bailey isn’t just a lawyer, he’s a role model and a mensch.

    I was frequently asked if I was upset that I “wasted” my whole summer working, but the things I learned, and the people I met, completely made up for the few beach trips I might have missed. I hope that the staff of ALB, P.C. found me to be helpful and useful in the short amount of time I spent with them. My internship was a great experience and I feel really lucky that I got to have such a wonderful experience at such a young age. So next fall when I’m standing outside of my college I probably won’t have the feeling like it’s the first day of kindergarten, because throughout this summer I have grown and become an independent young woman who is ready to take on anything.

    NMHS GOES UP IN STOCK

    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 after completing his education at Rutgers University and Syracuse University College of Law, went on to be recognized as one of the top ten real estate lawyers in New York Metro Area by Super Lawyers Magazine. Mr. 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 powerful Manhattan lawyer and 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 offered a high school internship every summer, and 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 him regarding the trip and summer internship. The next day I was called into Mr. Sheninger’s office, put on speaker phone with Mr. Bailey, and offered the internship. Not many people can say that they ever worked on Wall Street, let alone at only 17 years old. As if the internship was not enough, 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!

    MONTECUOLLO SAYS THANK YOU

    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 when she started at your firm, she was an unsure teenager embarking on a big adventure. During the two months she spent with your firm 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.

    Sincerely,

    Lorraine Montecuollo