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Joe Piscopo the drummer yes, drummer has impact at Cento Amici scholarship dinner

Students pose with Cento Amici Board President Bob Zito, and the evening's guest speakers, Joe Piscopo and Christine Romans.-(SAINT ANTHONY HIGH SCHOOL)

Most readers of NJBIZ remember Joe Piscopo from his sketch days on “Saturday Night Live” and some outrageous Miller Lite commercials.Some know him for his current roles as morning radio host on WNYM AM 970 and advocate for improving the lives of children in the state’s cities.

Few, however, realize he also is an accomplished drummer.

Piscopo demonstrated that skill by putting on a show at a recent Cento Amici scholarship dinner, giving a performance that had the roughly 100 in attendance in awe.

And while the entertainer had a number of one-liners that had the audience laughing, he had some serious thoughts for those in attendance at Alfie’s Ristorante Italiano in Warren.

Piscopo, who was born in Passaic, raised in Essex County and now lives in Lebanon Township, encouraged the students to work hard, do the right thing and overcome the odds to become a New Jersey success story.

His message is what Cento Amici is all about.

Cento Amici (translated 100 Friends) was founded in 1989 by Bob Zito, head of Zito Partners in Warren, as a community-based, member organization dedicated to providing need-based scholarship assistance to qualified students in the state.

This year, the organization gave out 38 scholarships to students at seven New Jersey schools: Saint Peter’s Prep, Saint Anthony High School, Roselle Catholic High School, Union County College, Raritan Valley Community College, Montclair State University and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

“Our mission is to enhance the educational opportunities for those who need it most and who are most underserved by existing need-based programs,” Zito said.

This year’s scholarship dinner also featured CNN Chief Business Correspondent Christine Romans, who gave the students an inspirational speech about saving money — and giving back to the communities in which they live.

All of the scholarship winners received autographed drumsticks from Piscopo and signed copies of Romans book, “Smart is the New Rich.”

In addition to the scholarships for the students of those schools, Cento Amici contributed to a scholarship fund established for the children of police officers and firefighters killed on 9/11, and to the Delbarton School for the establishment of an inner-city scholarship fund.

The group will host one of its two fundraiser of the year, its annual golf outing, on May 17. Click here for more details.

Tom Bergeron

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