Social studies teacher James Graber with Justin Giani Memorial Scholarship recipient Theadora Carnesi

Teddi Carnesi Wins Justin Giani Memorial Scholarship

Social studies teacher James Graber with Justin Giani Memorial Scholarship recipient Theadora Carnesi

July 15 , 2022

Theadora Carnesi blazed a trail through Huntington High School, starring in classes, clubs, sports and student government. An Advanced Placement Scholar with Honor, she was inducted into six separate academic honor societies. The teenager has already reported to the US Military Academy at West Point where she will begin studying for a career as one of America’s top Army officers.

Widely known by the nickname, Teddi, Ms. Carnesi is this year’s recipient of the Justin Louis Giani Memorial Scholarship. The award carries a stipend of $4,000, allotted in annual amounts of $1,000 for each of four years of college.

 Teddi Carnesi is this year's recipient of the Justin Giani Memorial Scholarship.
Teddi Carnesi is this year's recipient of the Justin Giani Memorial Scholarship.

The scholarship honors a young man who will always be remembered for his genial nature, loyalty to family and friends and competitive spirit. An outstanding student, Mr. Giani compiled a 95 academic grade average, graduating near the top of Huntington’s Class of 2007. He went on to earn an undergraduate degree at Drexel University in Philadelphia where he majored in finance and competed on the NCAA Division I wrestling team.

Mr. Giani won varsity letters with the Blue Devil cross country and wrestling squads. He earned a record of 118-32 in five years of varsity wrestling, the last four as a Blue Devil. (He wrestled at Harborfields as an eighth grader.)

As a senior, Mr. Giani went 25-7 on the mat and won the Suffolk League V title. As a junior, he finished with a 28-6 mark and was league runner-up. At the time of his graduation, he was 10th on the all-time Huntington career victory list with 101 wins.

The Huntington alum was killed on March 28, 2015 while crossing US Highway 501 in South Carolina during a golf vacation with his friends. He was 25 years old. His death was devastating to his family as well as his former classmates, teammates, teachers and coaches.

A scholarship fund was created to help perpetuate Mr. Giani’s legacy and memory at his alma mater. Recipients have included Dan Mollitor (Binghamton University), Nick Lanzisero (Binghamton University), Luke Eidle (Rutgers University), Christie Baade (University at Albany), Lex Colato (University of Bridgeport), Alex Bellissimo (University of Virginia) and now Ms. Carnesi.

The scholarship was presented to Ms. Carnesi by Associated Teachers of Huntington President James Graber on behalf of Mr. Giani’s parents, Linda and Joseph.

An exceptional leader, Ms. Carnesi cited hard work, pushing herself to always give 110 percent, being empathetic and treating others the way she would want to be treat as the keys to her success. She especially enjoyed making new friends while playing on the Blue Devil varsity soccer, basketball and softball teams and participating in numerous clubs. She earned All-State honors on the soccer field.

President of Huntington’s Class of 2022, Ms. Carnesi gave an uplifting address at the high school’s 161st commencement exercises late last month. Chosen by her classmates as a Natural Helper, she helped others work through difficult personal situations. A member of Suffolk’s Anti-Bias Task Force, she was also an American Legion Girls State delegate and the treasurer of Huntington’s National History Day club.

Mr. Giani interned at Philadelphia based film distributor Breaking Glass Pictures before being hired full-time by the company and helping to develop its “financial architecture” and helping steer it toward acquisitions as it went about building its brand.

“Justin was more than an employee; he was a master of numbers, a ball of energy, an even-keeled ray of light that brought smiles to all he crossed paths with, no matter the situation,” the company said in a statement following the Huntington alum’s passing. “As we mourn the loss of a member of the Breaking Glass Pictures family and team, we more importantly celebrate the life of one of the world’s true gifts. Justin was always so full of life and happiness and we will always remember him that way.”

The Justin Louis Giani Memorial Scholarship is one of the most prized awards presented annually to Huntington’s top seniors.