Meet the Honorees
- Phyllis Altieri
- Sally Bowman '86
- Chris Corbett '93
- Jeff Fryer '87
- Monsignor Thomas Ginty '76
- Rob Paternostro '91
- Chanessa Saunders '93
- Frank Steponaitis
- Nicole Zuraitis '03
- The 1995 Varsity Boys' Basketball Team
Recipient of The Blessed Father Basil Moreau Award
Phyllis (1930-2004) was a staff member who worked at Holy Cross from the opening of the school in 1968 until her retirement in 1995. Phyllis began working at Holy Cross in the cafeteria and after three years moved on to work as one of the school secretaries in the Main Office. She worked as Assistant Treasurer for the latter part of her Holy Cross career. During her time at Holy Cross, Phyllis's three children attended the school (Jerry '73, Mark '75, Maryann '82). Phyllis was an active member of the Holy Cross Mothers' Club when it had over 600 members. She worked closely with Brother Maurus O'Malley who moderated the Mothers' Club. When her older son graduated, Phyllis saw the opportunity to retain and foster the friendship and connection with club members and thus, in 1973, founded the Alumni Mothers' Club. The Alumni Mothers' Club raised money for the needs of the Memorial Chapel and erected the plaque naming our deceased student alumni. The Alumni Mothers' Club also sponsored the Thanksgiving Eve Mass to which all graduates are invited. The publication of the Holy Cross Alumni Mothers' Club Cook Book in 1976 was just another of the successes of this active group of women. Phyllis, along with these women, knew the importance of the Holy Cross heritage and worked to continue that legacy. To recognize Phyllis’ contributions to the school, she was the recipient of the Holy Cross High School Service Award in 1983.
Sally Bowman '86
Recipient of the Crusader Award
Sally graduated from Holy Cross High School in 1986. During her time there, she was elected by her peers to be a student class officer for 3 years, being elected president her senior year, served as a peer minister Junior and Senior year and was a 3 year member of the basketball team, a 4 year start on the softball team and being honored as captain, named to All-City, All-NVL, NVL Outstanding Senior and All-State (Junior, Senior) for softball.
After high school, Sally went on to play softball at Adelphi University playing in the 1988 Division-I College World Series, a career that ultimately led to her 2014 induction into the Connecticut Scholastic & Collegiate Softball Hall of Fame. She graduated in the Adelphi University Class of 1990 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing.
Sally worked in the family hardware store after college, managing the store for 10 years before launching her real estate career. She opened her own real estate brokerage firm, Sally Bowman Real Estate, in 2009. Her firm was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 2017 and the Sally Bowman Group - led by Sally - remains an all-female, award-winning team in the Cheshire Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties office.
Sally is not the only Holy Cross High School graduate in her family. Son Kevin graduated in 2011.
Chris Corbett '93
Recipient of the Saint Andre Bessette Award
Waterbury Deputy Police Chief Christopher Corbett '93 (1975-2015) was a proud product of the city of Waterbury's Catholic schools. He was a graduate of Blessed Sacrament Grammar School and Holy Cross High School. Chris went on to graduate from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. with a degree in History, and later earned a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University.
At both the high school and college levels, Chris was an outstanding, award-winning track athlete. He served as captain of the Holy Cross High School cross-country and track teams. Residents of the Bunker Hill section of Waterbury can recall the sight of Chris running the hills of the neighborhood long into his adult life. Running was truly Chris' passion and love.
Chris fulfilled a life-long dream when he was hired as a police officer with the Waterbury Police Department in 1997. He quickly rose through the ranks, receiving promotions to Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, and ultimately Deputy Chief. Chris also served as the Department's Public Information Officer.
Chris recognized the value of his Catholic school education and its contribution to his professional success. Throughout his career, he continued to give back to the city's Catholic schools. He served on the Holy Cross High School Board of Directors, the Blessed Sacrament Grammar School Board of Directors, and was honored by Sacred Heart High School in 2013 with the Sisters of Mercy Public Service Award. Chris also supported the "Little Flower Fund", which provides funds to local parochial grammar schools.
Chris was also active within numerous other community organizations, including the Police Activities League, Holy Land Board of Directors, Lieutenant Robert D. Westberg Scholarship Fund, and the City of Waterbury Retirement Board.
Jeff Fryer '87
Recipient of the Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys Award
Jeff is a business executive with almost 30 years of experience in the areas of corporate taxation, business finance, and the economics of financial operations and business strategy. After spending over 10 years as a practicing CPA and more than 15 years in industry, Jeff co-founded Rallybio in January 2018. Rallybio is a privately held development-stage biotechnology company focused on identifying and accelerating the development of drug candidates to transform the lives of patients with devastating disease.
Jeff currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer for Rallybio, named by FierceBiotech as one of its “Fierce 15” Biotech Companies of 2018 and recognized among “the most promising private biotech startups” of the year.
With Jeff’s leadership, the Company raised $37.0 million in Series A funding in April 2018 and $145.2M in Series B funding in May 2020.
Prior to co-founding Rallybio, Jeff was the Vice-President & Chief Tax Officer for Alexion Pharmaceuticals, a global biotechnology company, leading the Company’s corporate tax function. Jeff also led teams on numerous business development projects and facilitated multiple acquisitions and integrations with several transactions valued at over a billion dollars. He was the lead architect of a global business reorganization that drove the valuation and market cap of Alexion by more than six billion dollars in a single day.
Jeff began his career in 1992 at Coopers & Lybrand which ultimately merged with Price Waterhouse to become PwC. After leaving public accounting, he led the corporate tax function at Lydall, Inc. and Chemtura Corporation before joining Alexion. Over his career, Jeff has logged almost a million airline miles traveling on business throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from Bryant University and a Master of Science in Taxation from the University of Hartford. He has served as an adjunct professor and lectured at a number of universities and professional conferences on various finance and tax related topics. Jeff currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Bryant University School of Business and has held numerous positions on the Boards of primary and secondary educational institutions in Connecticut.
Jeff served multiple terms on Holy Cross's Board of Directors, spanning fourteen years in total and including a term as Board Chair. In this time on the Board, Jeff was instrumental in helping the school successfully navigate some of its most challenging fiscal and organizational times. His professionalism and attention to sound managerial practices have helped put Holy Cross on the solid footing it enjoys today
Outside of his professional life, Jeff enjoys acting and has both credited and uncredited roles in more than a dozen Indie, LIFETIME, and Hallmark Channel movies, as well as in series on both ABC and History Channel. He has been a Professional Ski Instructor for over 30 years, loves riding his road bike, boating, scuba diving, philanthropy, and most importantly, spending time with his family. Jeff and his wife Kim, split their time between Southington, CT and Plymouth, VT, and are the proud parents of two Holy Cross graduates, Ryan and Chris.
Msgr. Thomas Ginty '76
Recipient of the Saint Andre Bessette Award
Msgr. Ginty was born on September 22, 1957 in Philadelphia, PA. He is a graduate of Ascension of Our Lord School, Philadelphia (1972), Holy Cross High School in Waterbury, CT (1976), St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, (1976-1980), University of Hartford in West Hartford, CT (B.A. American History, 1980), Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg (MD, Master of Divinity and M.A in Church History, 1985). Ordination: Diaconate – SS. Peter and Paul Church, Waterbury December 23, 1983; Priesthood – Cathedral of St. Joseph, Hartford by Archbishop Whealon on February 9, 1985.
Assignments include: PV – St. Thomas, Southington 1985-1989; PV – St. Ann, Avon 1989-1993; Police Chaplain – Town of Avon 1989-1993; Chaplain of the Serra Club of Hartford 1987-1996; Director of Divine Worship 1993-2005; Assistant Vocation Director 1993-1994; Secretary to the Archbishop 1994-2005; Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Hartford 1997-2005; Pastor Our Lady of Loreto, Waterbury 2005-2010; Pastor St. Stanislaus, Waterbury 2007-2010; Pastor St. Matthew, Forestville 2010-2018; Rector Cathedral of St. Joseph, Hartford 2018-2019; Chairman 175th anniversary committee; Archdiocese of Hartford – 2018; Pastor St. Basil the Great, Wolcott 2019- present
Honors include: Chaplain of His Holiness – 1st rank of Monsignor – 1995; Prelate of Honor - 2nd rank of Monsignor – 2000; Knight of the Holy Sepulchre 2001
Committees: School Board St. Paul Catholic High School, Bristol 1987-1989; School Board Holy Cross High School, Waterbury 2005 – present; Member of Presbyteral Council 1997-2005, 2009-2012; Archdiocesan School Board 2013-present
"I am a proud beneficiary of twenty years of Catholic Education," said Msgr. Ginty. "My education and formation as a child and young adult can be credited to first of all my parents but also the Sisters of St. Joseph who taught me in grade school in Philadelphia and the Brothers of the Holy Cross at Holy Cross High School in Waterbury. The quality of education, which I received, has helped me in so many ways to be the person that I am today. Being a pastor and running a parish school certainly has its challenges but all the effort is worth it in knowing that you are helping to provide that same assistance to our youth today that I received from my many years of Catholic Education. In a sense, its “payback time” and I am happy to do all I can do to promote our catholic schools and the wonderful education and formation they provide."
Rob Paternostro '91
Recipient of the Crusader Award
Rob lives in Leicester England with wife, Sarah and children Lucas, Ava and Alessandro. He was a three sport athlete at Holy Cross, excelling in soccer basketball and baseball. For eleven years, he was a professional basketball player overseas in numerous countries including Italy, Spain, Belgium, France and England. He led the British Basketball League in assists from 2001-2003. He also worked at ESPN from 1999-2000 on NBA tonight. He served for thirteen years as a head coach with Leicester Riders and coached more than 500 games.
Paternostro attended New Hampshire College, now known as Southern New Hampshire University, where he played for the men's basketball team between 1991 and 1995. As point guard for the Penmen, Paternostro helped the team to the Division II Elite Eight three times, including twice reaching the tournament semi-final. During that span the team also became the first in conference history to capture three-straight NECC league tournament titles. In 2001, Paternostro was inducted into the SNHU Hall of Fame.
He is the all-time assist leader at SNHU with 919 during his career and has also played more games than anyone else in school history (129). Paternostro ranks fourth in three-point field goals made (242) and is sixth on the all-time scoring charts with 1,905 points at an average of 14.8 per game.
Paternostro first came to the BBL in 2000 when he signed for the Birmingham Bullets. In his first season, he averaged 10.2 points and 4.1 assists in 34 league games, whilst shooting 41.5% from the three-point line.
Paternostro was appointed head coach of the British Basketball League side Leicester Riders in June 2008.
Chanessa Saunders '93
Recipient of the Crusader Award
Chanessa attended Holy Cross from 1989-1993. During this time she was a dual sport athlete playing both basketball and track & field. Although her love was of basketball she excelled in track and went on to receive a full track scholarship to the University of Rhode Island. Chanessa was able to share her love of basketball with her son who is a recent graduate of Oral Roberts University where he received a full basketball scholarship. Chanessa has resided in a suburb of Atlanta Georgia for the past 21 years. She works as Procurement Director in state government for the last 13 years.
Recipient of the Blessed Father Basil Moreau Award
Frank was born in Waterbury, CT and grew up in Watertown. He went to St. John Elementary School and graduated from St. Thomas Seminary. He received his BA in History and English from Sacred Heart University and MA in American Studies and CAS in Administration from Fairfield University. He has been involved in Catholic Education for 41 years, first as a teacher/ principal at St. Thomas, Thomaston and then as a Social Studies teacher at Holy Cross. At both schools he was involved in coaching and student activities. Since retiring he has kept busy volunteering with conservation organizations and associations. He loves to read history, especially biographies, working outdoors, playing golf and fishing. He is currently living on Cape Cod with Ruth his wife of 51 years ,aka “the saint.” We have two grown children, Dayna married to Chris Sierakowski and Marcy Sterlis all HC grads and two grandchildren, Ryan and Lindsay Sierakowski.
Nicole Zuraitis '03
Recipient of the Crusader Award
Grammy® nominated vocalist, pianist and songwriter Nicole Zuraitis draws from the traditions of jazz, pop and blues to create music that is rich in depth and heart. As a bandleader, a recording artist and the premiere vocalist of the world famous Birdland Big Band among other notable ensembles, Nicole has established herself as a staple on the New York City Jazz scene and has made a significant mark on the global modern jazz landscape. This musical chameleon brings musical ingenuity, vocal prowess and her signature warmth to a wide array of genres and styles, particularly in her newest singer-songwriter album ALL WANDERING HEARTS (DotTime Records).
In 2019, Nicole’s illustrious career blossomed even further when her and her husband, renowned drummer and bandleader Dan Pugach, were dually nominated for a Grammy® for their arrangement of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”. Pre-Covid, Nicole could be found gracing the stages at both the iconic Birdland Jazz Club and Greenwich Village’s 55 Bar monthly, or touring internationally as a headliner and a sidewoman. She was named in the top 40 under 40 for 2020 in Connecticut Magazine and her weekly live stream during the Covid 19 crisis "Virtual Piano Lounge Plus One" was featured in Forbes in October 2020. Nicole was also a finalist in the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, winner of the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award, first place in the New York City Coffee Music Project Songwriting Competition, and the featured guest speaker at the WOW Forum. Her third album HIVE MIND won "Best Jazz Album" in the International Music and Entertainment Awards and she was honored to be in the semi finals of the American Traditions Competition in 2015, taking home both the Johnny Mercer and People's Choice award.
While pursuing a career that has spanned the genres of jazz, pop and classical, Nicole has collaborated with such luminaries as Cyrille Aimee, Antonio Sanchez, Dave Stryker, Livingston Taylor, Tom Chapin, Omar Hakim, Rachel Z, Melanie Safka, Helen Sung and Bernard Purdie. She is a proud Telefunken Mic VIP artist. Nicole travels the world as an educator for vocal and songwriting workshops. For more information, please visit: www.nicolezmusic.com
The 1995 Varsity Boys' Basketball Team
Recipient of the Green & Gold Award
Holy Cross senior Harold Miller was headed to Northeastern University in the fall of 1995 to play for Dave Leitao, a former Northeastern Husky and assistant coach to UConn’s Jim Calhoun.
Miller had a big goal for 1994-1995, however, and that was to make sure a state championship banner would hang from the Crusader gymnasium on Oronoke Road.
Holy Cross did capture that state championship thanks in large part to big seasons from Miller and sophomore teammate Edmund Saunders, but it wasn’t an easy ride in the Class LL tournament semifinal and final rounds.
The Crusaders, seeded fourth, trailed eighth-seeded Westhill by 10 points in the fourth quarter of the semifinal game. Holy Cross was able to rally and force overtime, but Westhill clung to a one-point lead in the waning moment of the extra period. Miller missed his shot for the win, but Saunders was there for the putback with one second left, and the Crusaders escaped the University of Hartford Sports Center with the 82-81 win.
In the state final against St. Joseph-Trumbull at CCSU’s Detrick Gymnasium, Holy Cross had three starters in foul trouble in the first half, including Saunders, who sat most of the opening 16 minutes. The Crusaders managed to trail by just five points at halftime, but later found themselves down 10 with 6:14 remaining in the third quarter. Holy Cross again reached deep inside in a team effort any of which coach would be proud.
Mike Bolton (14 points) came up with two huge defensive plays, drawing a charge on Windsor star Keyon Smith and later stealing one of Smith’s passes. On the Crusader possession following the steal, Miller shot a three from the top of the key that hit front rim and backboard before falling through the net for a one-point lead.
Holy Cross scored the game’s last seven points after that, claimed a 57-49 victory and celebrated a state championship.
“It was electrifying. The crowd was into it, especially at the end of the game,” Miller said afterward. “We played hard, it was just an all-out battle, and we came out on top. The cream rose tonight.”
When Miller’s go-ahead 3-pointer fell through the net midway through the fourth quarter, Generali raised both fists in the air in celebration.
“I just remember being very calm and confident the whole game, having great confidence in that team,” Generali said Wednesday.
Holy Cross finished its championship season with a 24-1 record. The only loss was to Ansonia, 71-69, on the road midway through the season. The Chargers (21-3) beat St. Joseph-Trumbull, 56-54, to win the Class L state championship.
Saunders was averaging 31 points per game entering the state final, according to a local television broadcast of the game by Bill Gonilla and Ken Copes. Saunders and fellow starters Tom Platt and Lucas Markelon got in foul trouble against Windsor, but they were picked up by strong bench play from Andy Dooley, Wes Pilon and Ryan Olsen, the current Holy Cross boys head coach.
“With the foul trouble, our bench stepped up big-time,” Generali said after the game. “Andy Dooley, Wes Pilon, Ryan Olsen, they held us in the game.”
Miller scored eight of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and was named tournament MVP.
“Miller was on fire in the fourth and our defense, led by Mike Bolton, was phenomenal,” Generali said Wednesday.
Bolton, who scored six points in the third quarter, was interviewed by Gonilla and Copes and said: “I think today, and no better place to prove it than the state championship, that we’re not just a two-man team and we have other guys that can do the job, too.”
Saunders tallied 10 of his 14 points in the second half. Holy Cross beat Crosby (84-54), Southington (70-59) and Fitch-Groton (98-71) in its first three games of the tournament.
For Generali, the season was also special because two of his former players, Ken Sinclair and Mike Phelan, were assistant coaches for him. Sinclair graduated from Sacred Heart High School in 1980 and Phelan from Holy Cross in 1989. The 1995 championship was the second in program history, with the first coming in 1988 under Tim McDonald.