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The Gaucho Gazette

Forni Scholarship

Annie Gallo and Natalie Micco

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James Forni was a mentor, a coach, and a teacher unlike any other; through his own personal struggles, he remained an incredible role model and inspiration for his students and players. The mark he made, not only on the basketball program but on the campus itself, transformed the school into an inclusive and welcoming community. Senior Alauna Rico describes how Forni made freshman year a less intimidating transition from junior high.

“He made every day better and the school felt like a safer place. He had a calm but cool presence, and he inspired me to be my best every day,” said Rico.

Forni found himself battle-tested by melanoma cancer, but lived his life with a persevering spirit; even in the midst of chemo sessions, he would conduct his P.E. classes and show up to basketball practices. The James Forni Memorial Scholarship is meant to carry on his legacy and mantra of “Vincero,” which is Italian for “I will win.” The Forni family would like to ensure his memory — and optimistic approach to life — are represented in future generations of Casa students. Forni’s widow, Mary Forni, shares how she hopes the scholarship might foster the same courageous mentality that defined Forni’s life.

“When James passed away, we were trying to think of what was the best way we could honor his life. We figured the best way was to continue Mr. Forni’s passion of helping and giving back to the kids of Casa Grande High School. We hope to honor and help a Casa Grande student who has overcome challenging obstacles in their own life by choosing to embrace a positive attitude,” said Forni.

The Forni family looks for students who have made the choice to work through difficult times with positivity, and who are better people because of the obstacles they have faced. Alumna Gabby Banaszek, the first recipient of the scholarship last year, discusses her own hardship.

“I knew Mr. Forni mostly because he was the brother of my volleyball coach, Jill Fahy. Mr. Forni would come give us inspirational speeches before some of our matches and always announced during our playoff matches. I had a special bond with both Jill and Mr. Forni because my brother was battling cancer while Mr. Forni was. CJ was not only my brother, but my best friend, and losing him was the hardest thing I’ll ever go through. The volleyball program and football program rallied around my brother’s fight, bringing a sense of unity to the school and helping my family through a really tough couple of years,” said Banaszek.

The scholarship is open to any senior at our school with their own story of overcoming adversity. To apply for the scholarship, each student must write and explain in 500 to 1,000 words how they have used the “Vincero” spirit in their life. For those interested in applying, the deadline is April 21. Banaszek explains how the scholarship has impacted her future and education.

“I now attend my dream school, Texas Christian University. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for not only the Forni scholarship, but for Jill and Mr. Forni helping me cope through my brother’s battle and passing. Forni has inspired so many lives and has personally helped me follow my dreams and get to where I am today. I am so humbled to have received that award and so grateful that Forni was able to touch my life,” said Banaszek.

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The student news site of Casa Grande High School
Forni Scholarship