2019 Brian Piccolo Award Winners - $1000 Scholarship each



Matthew Ciattarelli is a swimmer. So much so that he has been swimming for Hillsborough High School since 9th grade. In 10th he made the varsity swim team, was a candidate for captain in 11th grade, and became Captain of the in his Senior year. Matthew lettered from 10th to 12th grade. Even in the summers, Matt is a “Big Brother” and mentor to young children at the Hillsborough community pool. His sights are set on Montclair State University to be a varsity swimmer while studying business.

This Hillsborough Chapter Brian Piccolo award winner has expertise in basketball as well as swimming. In coaching Hillsborough Township youth in recreational basketball for the last years, he’s had his share of seeing the rewards of his efforts. His first year in high school he coached 5th, 6th and 7th graders to a championship. In his 3rd year coaching he had a team of mostly 4th graders who went on to beat a team of 5th graders to win the championship!

Matt has participated in woodshop class projects that benefit the community. He has conferred with the township committee to determine what could be provided by the high school’s wood shop class.

Matthew’s great grandfather, Antonio Ciattarelli immigrated to the US in 1910 from Valentano, Italy. He debarked the ship with a suitcase and $10 in his pocket, and the rest is Ciattarelli history. There are many stories heard in the family about the courage of ancestors because of their desire for a better life for their families. Memories are shared over old family recipes while each generation learns to appreciate all they have thanks to the Ciattarelli forebears. Matthew’s favorite family recipe is his Gram’s Christmas cookies made from a three generation old recipe for taralli. We’re sure he burns up all the tarallis calories with his swimming!


Brian Piccolo Award Winners - $1000 Scholarship each


Allison Dorrler is an amazing young woman who likes to run! She has been active Hillsborough High School’s Track Teams since 9th grade when she was “rookie of the year”. In 10th grade she lettered in winter track and in spring track she was acknowledged as “most improved in 2nd year varsity”. Allison continued on to 11th and 12th grade winter and spring track varsity teams.

In her Hillsborough community Allison is a member of the team teaching the weekly children’s liturgy at St. Joseph’s Church as well as a volunteer at track and basketball camp in the summer time. She manages these while also working part time at Olympia Sports in Hillsborough. Allison will be attending Kutztown University in the Fall majoring in children related fields.

How about her Italian heritage? – definitely defined by meatballs!! Her grandmother makes the best spaghetti and meatballs she’s ever had! She says if her little picky cousin will eat ‘em that has to mean something! The family gathers at grandma’s, usually with cousins, where the Italian dinners bring them all together. 

Rocco Tortoriello, Allison’s triple great grandfather arrived in the US in 1889 from Ricigliano, a town in southwestern Italy. She hopes to visit the area with her grandmother and family.

What do teachers say about Allison? She is focused, determined, and optimistic. She works well in group situations and is calm in intense situations. Allison helped fellow students by creating a freshman survival guide for incoming students. Her handbook helped several students make new friends during orientation. This Brian Piccolo recipient keeps a high GPA while participating in spring and winter track events. Coaches and bosses rave about her focus and willingness to learn while maintaining strong relationships with friends and family.

For all these reasons, the Hillsborough Chapter has chosen Allison as one of the scholarship recipients for the Brian Piccolo award.


criteria for the 2019 Brian Piccolo scholarships

The Brian Piccolo $1,000 Scholarship Awards from Hillsborough UNICO

Named after professional football player Brian Piccolo*, this award is given annually throughout the country by local UNICO chapters to high school student athletes of Italian-American heritage who exhibit the qualities modeled by Brian Piccolo in his life and career (excellence in athletics, integrity, leadership, courage,  loyalty, friendship, teamwork, dedication, sense of humor and anti-bias). 

The Hillsborough Chapter of UNICO is awarding  two $1000 scholarships as an incentive for a young Italian-American student athletes who aspires to greater achievement by pursuing higher education.

The criteria for our scholarship is as follows:

  • Candidate must be a graduating high school student athlete.
  • At least one parent/grandparent of Italian heritage.
  • Athletic Achievement
  • Academic Achievement
  • Community Service
  • Attendance to the Scholarship Recognition Dinner on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 will be required by the student and at least one parent or guardian. The dinner will be held at Gran Centurions in Clark, NJ.

The student who successfully receives this award will also be given an engraved plaque in addition to the  scholarship from the Hillsborough Chapter of UNICO.  

Respectfully yours,

Brian Piccolo Award Committee

* Brian Piccolo was just 26 years old when he died of an aggressive form of cancer.  He played professional football for the Chicago Bears for four years.  His short life, career, and friendship with teammate Gale Sayers was the subject of a 1971 made-for-television movie, "Brian’s Song." 

Brian Piccolo
Brian Piccolo