Women Leaders to be Honored at St. Pius V High School 16th Annual Excelsior Awards

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St. Pius V High School, a Catholic high school that provides a nurturing and academically stimulating environment for close to 200 young women from the Bronx and Harlem, will be honoring several women leaders and volunteers at its 16th Annual Excelsior Awards & Cocktail Reception. The event will be held on Wednesday, May 21, 2008, at the Water Club in New York City.

St. Pius V High School, a Catholic high school that provides a nurturing and academically stimulating environment for close to 200 young women from the Bronx and Harlem, will be honoring several women leaders and volunteers at its 16th Annual Excelsior Awards & Cocktail Reception. The event will be held on Wednesday, May 21, 2008, at the Water Club in New York City.

St. Pius V deeply appreciates the work of its volunteers in helping the school survive and thrive. The annual Excelsior Awards event gives St. Pius the opportunity to recognize the volunteers who not only dedicate time toward keeping the doors of St. Pius open but also serve as role models and mentors for its students. Since St. Pius is a parochial school, it is not eligible for many educational grants and faces budget challenges each year. The annual Excelsior Awards event raises funds in addition to recognizing volunteers.

The Excelsior Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Linda Baldwin, Esq., a project manager and attorney at the New York State Office of Court Administration, where she plans and implements problem-solving court initiatives throughout New York State. She began her career at New York City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Bronx office of the NYC Department of City Planning, concentrating on affordable housing and balanced neighborhood growth in the Bronx. An active school and community volunteer, Ms. Baldwin resides in the Bronx with her husband and three children.

Rita DiMartino, Chairman of the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, will receive the Excelsior Community Service Award. Over the course of her career, DiMartino has served on numerous local, national, and international boards, including the UNICEF Executive Board, the World Board of Governors of the United Service Organization (USO), the Inter-American Commission of Women, the Inter-American Children's Institute, and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. She was appointed to the U.S. Dept of Labor National Advisory Committee on Apprenticeships, served as a Commissioner on the Commission on Federal Election Reform, and served on 12 International Electoral Observation Missions. DiMartino's community involvements include The City University of New York, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, the Ana G. Mendez University System, and the Advisory Board of the Inter-American Foundation.

Entrepreneur Maria Rios, President and Owner of Classico Building Maintenance, Inc., is this year's recipient of the Excelsior Corporate Award. Since founding Bronx-based Classico Building Maintenance in 2001, Ms. Rios has doubled the size of the company to more than 50 employees and $2 million in sales. She has been recognized with several honors, including the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force Award, the New York Women's Chamber of Commerce Award, and the Rising Star Award. Current affiliations include the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, National Hispanic Business Group, Business Council of Westchester, 100 Hispanic Women, and New York Women's Chamber of Commerce (NYWCC).

The Excelsior Outstanding Achievement Award will be presented to Leah Fretwell, Regional Vice President of Elizabeth Arden. Fretwell joined Elizabeth Arden in 1992 and currently serves as general manager of the company's flagship Red Door Salon on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and its two Long Island spas. During her career, Fretwell has been instrumental in bringing her company's support and awareness to causes that benefit women, including Dress for Success, Gilda's Club, and Help Line, a charity started by former New York State First Lady Matilda Cuomo. She has also mentored young women at Elizabeth Arden and at Laboratory Institute for Merchandising. Ms. Fretwell grew up in the Morris Park section of the Bronx and lives in Queens with her husband and two children.

Maria Matos, Esq., President of the Puerto Rican Bar Association is this year's recipient of the Excelsior Government Award. A practicing civil litigation attorney in New York City, Matos has worked for the various branches of New York City and New York State government. Additionally, she recently began working as a court attorney in Bronx Civil Court. Ms. Matos has been active in the Puerto Rican Bar Association for several years and also is a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York's Minorities in the Courts Committee, the Association of Arbitrators, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the Bronx Bar Association, and the Association of Small Claims Arbitrators.

St. Pius V Excelsior committee members include Kathy Zamechansky, Executive Vice President of Yonkers-based Friedland Realty, Inc. and founder and chairperson of the St. Pius V High School Advisory Board; Elsie Perez, event chair and Controller for C-Town, a division of Westchester-based Krasdale Foods; Rella Fogliano, President of Mount Vernon-based MacQuesten Development Corp.; Eastchester resident JoAnn Mazzella Murphy (St. Pius V '59), Vice-Chair of Country Bank; New Rochelle resident Greg Gonzalez, Principal of Manhattan Parking Group; and Jose and Radame Perez, also the husband and son of Elsie Perez.

St. Pius V High School is located at 500 Courtlandt Avenue, Bronx, NY 10451; (718) 292-3636.

About St. Pius V High School
St. Pius V High School is a small Catholic High School serving close to 200 young women from the Bronx and Harlem. Its mission to provide a nurturing environment that fosters self-esteem, mutual respect, personal responsibility and educational excellence. St. Pius V High School was founded by the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt and is certified as a four-year high school by the New York State Board of Regents.

Press Contact
Beth Weiss
Co-Communications, Inc.
(914) 666-0066
beth @ cocommunications.com

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STACEY COHEN
Co-Communications
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