There’s something Special about Mary
by Cate Murway

“Why wouldn’t you want to be #1?”

The title of valedictorian (an anglicized derivation from the Latin vale dicere, "to say farewell") is given to the top graduate of the graduating class. Mary would like to earn that title based on the calculated total credits of her grades, her overall GPA. Lofty goals and high expectations apparently define Mary Kathleen [namesake of both grandmothers] Barbagallo’s days. One of her favorite songs is "Volare" (Italian for the infinite tense of the verb "to fly").

The older daughter [Mary Kate to her family] of Joseph John Barbagallo, Bishop Egan ’80, who won several English awards and Janis Theresa [D’Emidio] BHS ’81/Temple University ‘84 who was salutatorian of her graduating class of 98 students, has been in the gifted program since her academic debut at the Harriman Christian Day School on Wilson Avenue. Her little sister, Natalie Theresa has a resident great role model!

Mary just celebrated her 16th birthday [her grandmom, Mary D’Emidio whipped up some wicked iced, crescent shaped Italian “wedding cookies”] and she is living up to her ambitious, principled, high achiever Capricorn traits. Her individuality started the day she was born.  Her dad will always remember that she was the only female child in the St. Mary's Medical Center, Langhorne nursery the day the White House announced the start of Operation Desert Storm to drive Iraqi troops from Kuwait.

Forward #16, Mary competes in JV Field Hockey, played defense in CYO soccer and concentrates on dashes, demanding maintaining emotional and mental control for unwavering focus, during the outdoor track season. Track and field, although a team sport, is truly a composite of individual accomplishments, that which is “within you”. This “Most Dedicated Athlete” is presently geared toward capturing the school records of 12.7 for the 100m and 26.7 for the 200m currently held by her cousin, Bristol Township Police officer, Tiffany D’Emidio BHS ’01/ West Chester University ‘05. She’s got energy, motivation and opportunity now. That's a mighty combination! Per Coach Jimmy Jones, BHS ‘59, “ Mary is a very hard worker. She is always looking to improve herself.”

Potent academics are her trademark. Mary excels in Spanish and Italian.  She and her mom had the opportunity to study Italian together when the Italian Mutual Aid-Fifth Ward on Wood Street offered the language program. At her 8th grade graduation, she was awarded the “Rita Sermania Memorial Scholarship” of a $50.00 Savings Bond for her linguistic fluency. She dreams of a trip to Italy [lo Stivale "the Boot"] for a possible graduation present! Mary’s grandfather served in the Italian WWII Air Force. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Lodge #970 on Wood Street awarded Mary with a “Certificate of Achievement” for her winning “What Freedom Means to Me” Americanism essay. The Elks credo attests their mission: "The values we impart to our children today will be the values of our nation tomorrow."

One of her goals is to debate for the position of President of her Class. She advocates healthier food choices for lunch and she values Microsoft for the computers over the present system, StarOffice. Development of the integrated StarOffice started at the end of 1994, significantly discounted than licenses for Microsoft Office and Windows.
She has begun planning, implementation and research for her most interesting Senior Project, the history of Bristol High School, big enough for her to consider multiple perspectives but not so big that it will lead only to superficial understanding. Designed to be presented at the culmination of her academic experience, this Project offers a genuine opportunity to merge her various interests, passions, and curiosities with her academic life at the school and demonstrate her autonomy, complexity, and awareness.

Mary shares that she would like to incorporate some aspect of “giving back” to others. When she meets her Maker, she wants to honestly state “she couldn’t give anymore and has used all her talents.”  College aspirations are to study Genetics (from the Greek genno γεννώ= give birth), the science of genes, heredity, and the variation of organisms. In this regard, her work, time, and energy will result in a lasting contribution that is bigger than her. Destination- The College of William and Mary [King William III and Queen Mary II granted the charter] in historic Williamsburg, VA, America's second-oldest college [Harvard is1ST] and the best small public university in the nation.

Mary isn’t just all about academics. This Student of the Month is a living combination of juxtapositions: thinking and doing, tradition and innovation, collaboration and independence.  She was “personally impacted” when she participated in a “real eye opener” at the People-to-People World Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C., with some of the world's top junior high students for a week of interactive leadership training from members of the U.S. Congress and other government officials. During another learning experience, she absorbed “rounding out your life” techniques at the Rising Star Program, a youth leadership development program held at the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library.

Her favorite television show is "Monk" (2002), starring Tony Shalhoub as former police detective Adrian Monk, who has suffered from intensified obsessive- compulsive disorders. Her favorite food is “Game Pie”, a mixture of game meat such as pheasant, partridge, hare and rabbit, and venison steak with red onions, smoked streaky bacon, and
chestnut mushrooms.

Mary may be a very common popular female first name but truly “There’s something Special about Mary”.

To recommend a Bristol borough youth to be spotlighted:


2014 Bristol Borough Business Association
Joseph J. “Joe” Barbagallo of the Bucks County Rescue Squad, VICE PRESIDENT


Carmelo Barbagallo
Posted: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 7:23 am 

Carmelo 'Charlie' Barbagallo of Bristol Borough passed away peacefully Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, at New Seasons at New Britain in Chalfont, surrounded by his loving family. He was 92.
He was born and raised in Italy before moving to Bristol in 1958, where he became a union construction laborer.

Charlie was an avid fisherman, who enjoyed spending time at the beach and enjoyed taking trips throughout his life.
He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Kathleen of 40 years.

Charlie will be greatly missed by his three children, Ann Leighton-Swayze and her husband, Edward, Joseph Barbagallo and his wife, Janis, and Ona Broadway and her husband, Jerry, and his grandchildren, Gregory, Charles, Mary, Natalie and Christopher.
Relatives and friends are invited to call from 10 to 11 a.m., Thursday morning, at the Galzerano Funeral Home, 430 Radcliffe St., Bristol, PA 19007. Funeral services will begin at 11 a.m. Burial will follow in St. Mark's Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Bucks County Rescue Squad, 143 King St., Bristol, PA 19007. Galzerano Funeral Home,  Bristol

Mary Kathleen Barbagallo
Mary and her grandmom, Mary D’Emidio
Mary's parents