Leading the Way

Some schools produce teachers. Some schools produce athletes. Canastota schools produce supervisors. Some may ask, "What's in the water?" Or is it something else?

Five of the 19 town supervisors in Madison County attended the Canastota School District. Lenox Supervisor and Chairman of the Board Rocco DiVeronica, Fenner Supervisor Russell Cary, Lincoln Supervisor Doug Holdridge, Smithfield Supervisor Richard Bargabos and Sullivan Supervisor John Becker span 4 decades of Canastota's history. They share memories of high school, their favorite activities, teachers, the people who influenced their lives, and what the future may hold.

Rocco DiVeronica

DiVeronica graduated in 1955. Most of his classroom days were spent at the old Peterboro Street School. He said his class was the first to graduate at the high school on Roberts Street.

DiVeronica contributes sports to his success in high school. He participated in varsity football and was part of the All-Star team. He was involved in Future Farmers of America and Science Club. But wrestling was his true passion.

"I was the first sectional champ in Canastota history," DiVeronica said. "During high school and college I only lost to four people."

As a junior in high school he was named outstanding wrestler at the Amateur Athletic Union. He later went on to help initiate Canastota Pee Wee Wrestling, an organization still active after 34 years. He also coached Little League baseball, Pop Warner football and girls softball.

DiVeronica said his favorite teacher was Mrs. Farfaglia but attributes coach and agriculture teacher Bill Sharpe to his future in politics.

"Bill Sharpe taught me not to give up," DiVeronica said. "He was a tough guy and he taught me how to be tough."

Sharpe also was mayor of Canastota and appointed DiVeronica highway superintendent. He then went on to serve on zoning boards and planning boards paving the way for his supervisor position, one he's held for 19 years.

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