When former Glen Cove Parks and Recreation Director John Maccarone founded the Glen Cove Hall of Fame in 1982, he sought to honor many great athletes who excelled in the city and beyond. The hall’s first inductees dated back to the early 20th century.
Until he died in 1992, Maccarone continued to add members to the hall. His daughter, Leslie Maccarone Baptista, and current Parks and Recreation Director Darcy Belyea have worked diligently to keep Maccarone’s legacy alive. One way they have done so is through the John Maccarone Memorial Scholarship Fund, presenting scholarships to student-athletes graduating from Glen Cove High School and moving on to play sports in college.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to continue in my father’s name, to be able to give out all these scholarships,” said Baptista, explaining that the fund has awarded Glen Cove students over $130,000 in scholarships since it was created in 1993.
“It was all about giving back to the community [for him],” Baptista said of her father. “He was always having special activities or fundraisers, especially for people in need, and this was a way to give back to students who excelled in sports during their high school years.”
Students can apply for the scholarship by submitting an essay during their senior year of high school. This year there were six scholarship winners, all of whom received at least $1,000. One of them was Jesse Mayreis, who will play lacrosse at Eastern Connecticut State University next year while majoring in sports management and marketing. His essay subject was the lessons he learned while taking part in a Rotary leadership program throughout high school.
“When they called my name, it was pretty much an honor,” Mayreis said. “Just to see that I have the impact and that they value me and my essay, it’s an honor.”
The scholarships are funded by a variety of fundraisers, including the Glen Cove Hall of Fame’s 9 and Dine golf tournament and dinner, which took place on Monday. 21 foursomes and 10 other golfers played nine holes at the Glen Cove Golf Club, and there were other events as well, including a closest-to-the-pin competition and hitting frozen marshmallows for distance.
Nearly 90 golfers took part, and more than 200 people attended the dinner afterward, at the Glen Cove Knights of Columbus. There they could buy raffle tickets for a chance to win one of 50 prize baskets donated by local sponsors. There was also a $5,000 grand prize raffle, which ended up being split three ways.
“It’s an overwhelmingly warm experience for me,” said Belyea, adding that her maiden name was Maccarone and John was a distant cousin. “To bring the family together, as well as my parks and recreation team, it really is nice to see the community support our young graduates.”
The next day, Belyea reported that the event had raised over $31,000, almost half of which was profit. The money will fund the Hall of Fame and future scholarships, helping to maintain Maccarone’s legacy for years to come.