By Larry Austin
Island Dispatch Editor
Wearing the red jacket she wore in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Pearl Sciolino-Coffey was honored during Monday's meeting of the Grand Island Board of Education.
During the "Good News" portion of the meeting at Grand Island High School, the trustees recognized the 11-year-old sixth-grader from Veronica E. Connor Middle School for her performance in the world famous parade.
Sciolino-Coffey performed as part of the cast of Camp Broadway, a theater arts camp for children that held workshops in Buffalo. The group performed Irving Berlin's "This Is A Great Country" in the parade in tribute to veterans, like Sciolino-Coffey's mother, Trina. She told the Board of Education that she auditioned and was cast to perform the song and dance with 124 children ages 9 to 16.
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade draws more than 3.5 million spectators along the two-mile parade route. "It was big. There were people on top of buildings, and it was crazy," Sciolino-Coffey said.
The performers went to a New York City studio and rehearsed Sunday through Thursday, she said. During her weeklong trip, she met people from around the world and performed with children from around the country.
Not only was Sciolino-Coffey enjoying her first trip to the Big Apple, but she was seeing the Macy's parade for the first time, having not been among the 50 million people who annually watch the parade on television. ("It starts too early," she said.)
She said she enjoyed what she realizes is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
"I was really excited before I went, and it was everything that I thought it would be," she said.
Pearl Sciolino-Coffey speaks to the Grand Island Board of Education during Monday's meeting in the Professional Development Room of Grand Island High School. (Photo by Larry Austin)