Just about a month away, plans are being finalized for the fifth Joey Pinasco Scholarship Dinner/Dance.
The event is put on in memory of the Escalon High alumnus and this year is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 31 at Reece Farms on South Henry Road in Farmington.
“It has grown,” mom Toni Pinasco said of the annual scholarship event. “The first year, we had it at the Stockton Italian Club but we outgrew that, so we tried it at the Escalon Community Center and we outgrew that.”
This will be the third year for the event at Reece Farms and Toni said that seems to be a good location.
“It’s out in the country and Joey was a country kid,” she said.
The family all works on the event in Joey’s memory; he died in August 2008.
“It’s really about supporting the school and the kids, we want to be able to do as much as we can,” Toni explained.
The fundraiser helps provide scholarships in Joey’s name and for the Class of 2013 that graduated this past June, four $1,000 scholarships were presented. They went to Kyle Ballard, Nickey Homen, Phillip Kimble and Robbie Steves.
“We require all the applicants to write an essay about how they live life to the fullest,” Toni explained. “We’ve kind of embraced that, it was Joey’s motto.”
The Justice for Joey Memorial Foundation is designed to benefit graduating seniors who were involved either in the varsity baseball program or the PIT, Peer Interaction Team, program at Escalon. Joey was a member of both groups. The foundation has been able to provide at least four $1,000 scholarships each year in Joey’s name.
“We have all the recipients read their essays at the dinner,” Toni added. “It’s a real nice touch.”
Items are currently being sought for the silent auction that is also a big part of the event. Again this year, Port City Cyclery in Stockton is donating a custom cruiser bike to be placed in the auction. To donate an item or get more information, contact Adriana Pinasco Lewis at 209-601-9855.
“This is open to everybody,” Toni added. “It’s a community effort and all the proceeds go to Escalon High School students.
“It’s definitely a family event.”
Toni said the entire Pinasco family, herself, husband Joe, children Virginia, Michelle, Adriana and her husband John Lewis, all read the essays submitted and then choose the winners. She said it typically is a unanimous vote, with the family all selecting the same essays.
Cost for the scholarship dinner/dance is $30 for adults and $15 for kids (school age) with those under five admitted free. There will also be a DJ for dinner music and dancing. Festivities start at 6 p.m. with a social hour (no host bar) and dinner is at 7 p.m.
“The menu for the evening will be an authentic Italian dinner, since we are Italian and Joey was very proud of his heritage,” said sister Adriana.
Featured will be roast beef and chicken, ravioli, salad, and focaccia bread. Cheese, salami and tortas will be served for appetizers and wine is served with dinner.
“We will also have a dessert bar with a variety of Italian desserts, as well as a gelato machine,” Adriana said.
Last year, the August event was greeted with a few raindrops, which Toni said was “just Joey saying hello” to those gathered in his memory. She said the success of the event is heartwarming each year and the family likes working together to put on the dinner dance.
“Our supporters enjoy it,” she said.
To purchase tickets, checks can be made out and mailed to: Justice for Joey, 1628 Daniels Ave., Escalon, CA 95320.