By LORENZO RECUPERO
When lifetime Everett resident Michael Matarazzo passed away suddenly in April of this year, it opened a huge void in the lives of those who had the chance to know him.
Included in the many in Everett grieving the loss of Matarazzo was childhood friend and former teammate, Ross Pietrantonio, who felt it necessary — and fitting — his longtime pal continue to be celebrated in life after his death.
“He was a legend,” said Pietrantonio, who first played football with Matarazzo on the Everett Pop Warner D-Team at 8-years-old. They traveled together to Florida for the national tournament. “[He was] quiet, hardworking and didn’t say a lot — but he did a lot,” said Pietrantonio of the late Matarazzo, who was part of multiple championship sea- sons for the Everett High School football dynasties of the 2000’s.
At a Celebration of Life at Village Bar & Grill scheduled for Thursday, July 7, Pietrantonio plans to commemorate the essence which made Matarazzo so special to the community, with hopes of recapturing it for the future.
“Hearing of his passing was devastating news. He meant a lot to the city, to youth sports. He grew up in this city and really cared. He’s really a legend and we owe it to him to put something together
celebrating his life,” said Pietrantonio, who was able to assemble a committee to establish a scholarship for the upcoming 2022 EHS school year in Matarazzo’s name.
He acknowledged the scholarship fund is about leadership for Everett’s youth at a time when they need it most. He is calling on all alumni to become members of “The Letterman”, a non-profit funded by alumni with the sole purpose of enhancing opportunities for current and future EHS students through youth sports engagement. The Letterman, an all-inclusive non-profit, is set up to highlight and uplift both boys and girls academically and athletically.
“We have to try and bring back the family aspect of youth sports here. We have to try and bring back our past Ever- ett sports legends to help provide men- torship,” said Pietrantonio noting the numerous mentors he had growing up in Everett.
Along with other EHS Alumni Josh Delgado, Katie O’Neill and Everett City Councillor Stephanie Smith, Pietrantonio plans to start a meaningful scholarship that will honor students sharing in Matarazzo’s love for football and music alike.
“His first love was music,” said Pietrantonio, who said although Matarazzo was a a work horse on the football field, earning himself the monicker “Cuckoo”,
he was equally intelligent and eloquent musically. “He really loved music and was a great musician. He played guitar, piano, wrote songs and was great at it,” said Pietrantonio, who hopes to award the scholarship to students that mirror Matarazzo’s passion and dedication for sports and arts.
That’s why Pietrantonio plans to use scholarship monies towards the education of students pursuing a career in mu- sic as well as sports.
“It’s not just about football or sports, it’s about the arts as well,” he said.
Although the details of the scholarship, which are being worked out with Matarazzo’s family members, are not finalized Pietrantonio knows it will be in his longtime friends name. Pietrantonio and the scholarship committee hope to amass enough funding to offer multiple students 5-10K dollars each.
“Our major push with this event and scholarship is to honor Michael and to start a major push to uplift the youth in our city,” said Pietrantonio. “We want Everett’s past to help Everett’s future,” he said.
The entire Everett community and beyond is invited to the celebration at Village Bar. Red Sox and New England Patriots tickets will be raffled with all proceeds going towards the scholarship honoring Matarazzo.