Large crowd turns out to give school board comment on renaming turf field in honor of late Anthony Senerchia Jr.


Deborah Karson

Anthony Senerchia with wife Jeannette and daughter Taya.

A large number of residents turned out Tuesday for the Pelham Board of Education meeting to support renaming the multi-sport turf field at the Glover complex in memory of Anthony Senerchia Jr. Trustees had announced last week they wanted to hear from the community during the meeting. 

“We have a bigger crowd here tonight than I’ve seen maybe ever,” said Board of Education President Sue Bratone Childs at the beginning of the meeting.

Senerchia was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2003, just months after marrying his wife, Jeannette. Senerchia became the founder of the Anthony Senerchia Jr. ALS Charitable Foundation and the inspiration for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which went viral in 2014. The result was over $200 million raised for ALS research. Following a 14-year battle with ALS, Senerchia died in 2017.

Senerchia graduated from Pelham Memorial High School in 1989 after being a standout football player. Despite his disease, he continued to contribute to the football community, co-founding the youth football league, among other things. Senerchia impacted many of Pelham’s young football players, including Andy Terraciano, the PMHS sophomore who proposed renaming the field.

“I never was the best football player,” said Terraciano. “But I will carry with me through the rest of my life every lesson that Anthony Senerchia taught me—not the least of which was perseverance, discipline and hard work in the face of adversity.”

Throughout the meeting, several members of the community and organization representatives voiced their support for the renaming of the field, remembering Senerchia as a role model with an always-positive attitude.

Brian Valente stepped to the microphone to represent the Pelham Booster Club. “Many of us sitting here probably dumped a bucket of ice water on our head for ALS research, but worldwide there were over 11 million people who took part in the ice bucket challenge,” he said. “Anthony was a part of their lives. So let’s give Anthony his field, and make sure he never misses a game.”

Former school board member Will Cavanaugh said he wanted the field to keep the Glover name.

“I think the world of Anthony Senerchia,” he said. “He coached my son and his friends. He was a great role model at the time and throughout his life. But I like the name Glover Field. It has a timelessness to it… There are many people in Pelham—past, present and future—who are going to do great things for Pelham. By singling out one person, you’re excluding many others. I tell you every generation wants to name a field after their inspirational coach.”

Among others in support of the renaming were Joanne Case, Joe Solimine and Michael Volpe.

Also at the meeting, the board continued its discussion of the 2019-20 preliminary budget. Vice President Jessica DeDomenico gave the 21st Century Learning and Professional Development Committee update, announcing a chromebook survey will be released after spring break for parents, students and teachers. Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services Julia Chung gave a departmental update on networks of support and social-emotional development.