Pia Toscano may be on the way to superstardom because of her singing talent, but at a special school assembly held at her former school, MS 207, on Wednesday, it was the spoken words of the Howard Beach native that really hit home.
Taking the stage before a packed auditorium, Pia Toscano stepped from behind the curtain with a smile that stretched from ear to ear.
“Thank you guys. Thank you so much,” she said, her voice drowned out by thunderous applause and screams from the student body that filled the room.
This was the first time she had been back, she explained, since the whirlwind tour of American Idol ended last month. “I wanted to come here today,” began Toscano, “to let you know how grateful I am for the support I got from my home town. And especially from this school.”
She went on to detail to the students how her singing talent was nurtured there at MS 207. “The most important thing I can tell you is that my dreams started right here. In this room. Sitting in the same seats as you are right now.” Whatever they had in mind, no matter how difficult things look, no matter how hard you have to work, Toscano told them, “Never give up on your dreams. My dream started here and yours can to. Just never, never give up. You can be whatever you choose.”
Toscano described to the audience how two teachers at the school, Mr. Cross and Ms. Cangelosi, were responsible for her career. “Everything I have in my career started right here. I would not be here today if not for this school and everyone here,” she said as another eruption of applause and chants of “Pia” rang through the room.
Nina DeBlasio, MS 207’s Parent Teacher Coordinator who put the special day at the school together, called upon student Gigi Russo to present the singer with a poster she created from a pep rally held at the school in Pia’s honor. “It means so much to these kids that Pia came back here just to see them,” DeBlasio said. “Her words will have a huge impact on them.” And as for the poster, according to the singer, it will hang on a wall in her new apartment.
The school held three separate assemblies with split grades so that Toscano would have a chance to see every student in the school. “I wanted to see them all,” Toscano said. “They have to know how special each of them is to me. I am truly inspired here. I’m still dreaming.” One of those dreams, she says, is to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.
“I’d love to see Pia sing the anthem at the Super Bowl,” said DeBlasio after the day’s events were through. “Actually what happened here today was like the Super Bowl for MS 207. Pia certainly came home a winner.”
By Patricia Adams