Varsity club

of Staten Island

THE HISTORY OF THE VARSITY CLUB

The Varsity Club was organized in 1932 by graduate high school athletes who all held varsity letters.  The original nucleus of members were Henry Shanahan, Jerry Carney, John “Hunchy” Dalton, Carlo Sanataniello, Frank Burke, Mickey Butters, Clarence Wright, Ray Reagan and Arnold  Anderson.  In the early years, they would meet in Westerleigh Park, at their homes, on Sunday afternoons at the former Assumption K of C Building located on Richmond Terrace across from Faber Park, in taverns such as the Nile Room owned by Mel Fieramosca formerly located at Richmond Terrace and Clove Road and the 666 Club owned by Frank Burke at the corner of Morrison and Bement Aves.  During the depression years a few of the members had jobs and not much of an opportunity to continue into college.  At the time a monetary scholarship award was beyond the scope of the members but they still managed to carry out an award program.
The Club’s moderator and counselor, Dr. Thomas H. Pearson, a dentist, directed the organization and the original charter members with the assistance and advice from Frank “Hoof” Nugent of Port Richmond H.S. and Harry O’Brien of Curtis High School. Jim Carney, Joe Campitello, Frank Burke, Walter Squire and Mike Burchie served as directors of the Varsity club until their first annual meeting held at the old CYO Center on Castleton and Clove Road which subsequently was destroyed by a fire.

At the time, the Varsity Club was the only private organization permitted into Public Schools to make awards when it received official approval from the Board of Education Superintendent of Schools,  Emanuel F. Van Dam about 1934/1935.  Due to the economic realities at the time, it took the club six years to raise the necessary funds to present an award.

 

  • In 1938 Arnold Anderson from Port Richmond High School was named the first winner of the S.I. High Schools Outstanding Student Athlete Award.  It was unfortunate that the award at the time was only “recognition” and did not include financial assistance.  He was presented with a trophy by the Club President, Dr. T.N. Pearson, at a dinner that cost $1.50 at the Meurot Club formerly located in  St. George.  The club members requested that a committee of High School coaches namely Frank Cassidy of New Dorp, Bert Sharp and Harry O’Brien of Curtis, Brother Bernadine of St. Peters, Walter Stolzenthaler of Tottenville and Lou Trella of  Port Richmond made the selection.

  • The original Varsity Club members who sighed the certificate of incorporation of an unincorporated association on 3/13/40 were John Dalton, San Santo, Carlo Santanello, Henry Shanahan and Charles Burton.

  • During Word War II, many Varity Club members entered into various branches of military service.  The four remaining members namely Mickey Butters, Jerry Carney, Frank Burke and Dr. Frank Fieramosca considered disbanding the Varsity Club, but fortunately made the decision to carry on until the end of the war.

  • Due to the real estate shortage at the time, and the difficulty encountered to obtain a club room, the organization was not reactivated until 1946.

  • The first Christmas party was held in 1948 at the former Masonic Temple located behalf the old Ritz Theater in Port Richmond where all the members dressed as clowns and presented children from Mount Loretto and St. Michael’s Home with gifts and boxes of candy.