Meet the 2018 Denim & Diamond Honorees

DIANE M CICATELLO, MD 

Diane M Cicatello, MD is a well-established Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician, actively serving children and families in the Mid-Hudson region for the past 18 years and is double board certified in General Pediatrics and Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

Dr. Cicatello began her quest to serve children when she was just a child herself in her hometown of Buffalo, NY where she was active as a teen volunteer in the Community Action Corps participating in the Children’s Reading Coalition while at SUNY Buffalo as an undergraduate student. As a medical student she became committed to the disabled youth population gaining valuable and motivating experience while working at The United Cerebral Palsy Foundation. As a medical student, during her pediatric rotation, she fell in love with the child life area of the hospital realizing that the healing process was enthusiastically supported if the children were happy and enriched with a multisensory diet of educational entertainment. She is a proponent of a holistic and comprehensive intervention program for all children with disabilities and aids families in creating an individualized treatment plan to service their child’s needs and support their progress. She believes in exposing children to a multisensory and culturally rich diet in order to support their overall growth.

While developing her professional career, Dr. Cicatello was an active Dutchess County volunteer. She has been an active member of The Junior League of Poughkeepsie since 1996, serving on the Board and holding many positions wherein she was able to impact the community at large with her pediatric expertise. Representing the JLP in our community as an active member she held positions as Community Council chair and she coordinated and hosted a very successful Dutchess County Child Abuse Conference held at Vassar Brothers Hospital in 2002. She was instrumental in creating a reading program based in renowned evidence based research on a cognitive learning program entitled The Smart Parts in collaboration with The Dutchess County Public Library system and another with The Poughkeepsie Day Nursery. She also helped initiate and create an obesity education and prevention program serving the inner city population of Poughkeepsie. She coordinated multiple volunteer efforts in collaboration with the Family Partnership in support of the teen parent population. Along with the Junior League of Poughkeepsie, Dr. Cicatello has volunteered with numerous organizations over the years including, the Dutchess County Board of Mental Hygiene, the Dutchess County Children’s Services Council. The Women’s Leadership Alliance, the Rehab Program (now Abilities First), and the Mill Street Loft, a Hudson Valley Arts Organization which has now merged with Spark Media to become The Art Effect. Dr. Cicatello currently serves as a trustee for the Mid Hudson Children’s Museum.

Dr. Cicatello is especially proud of her involvement on the advisory board of The Vassar Haiti Project, a collaborative non profit to support the artisans of Haiti and the people of a Haitian village, Chermaitre. Dr. Cicatello has shared knowledge and medical expertise helping to create a functioning medical clinic on the mountain in Haiti, providing access to needed healthcare for the villagers. Her experience as a medical missionary working in the clinic provided her insight into the dire health care state of the people of Haiti and helped her become more committed to the quest to provide adequate access to quality healthcare to all people.

Dr. Cicatello holds a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry from SUNY Buffalo and an MD degree from SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine. Her residency in General Pediatrics was completed at Cornell Medical Center, followed by her fellowship training in Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at The Rose F. Kennedy Center –Albert Einstein University. On a personal note, Dr. Cicatello is the proud mother of three successful young adult children.

Overall Dr. Cicatello is certainly an amazing friend of the children and families in the Hudson Valley, as well as a committed volunteer in our community and abroad. Honoring her as an award recipient is remarkably special and well deserved.

 

JULIA PAGONES

Julia Pagones is the Public Relations Supervisor at CareMount Medical, the largest independent multispecialty medical group in New York State. She is responsible for upholding the group’s values of providing quality, patient-centered care close to home while also maintaining a favorable image for the group within the community and among its more than 550,000 patients throughout the Hudson Valley. Prior to her current role, she worked for Dutchess County Government for eight and a half years, holding positions in the County Executive’s Office, Department of Planning and Development, and Board of Elections.

Ms. Pagones is involved with several community organizations and causes, including serving as a board member of the United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, an associate board member of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, a member and past co-chair of the Hudson Valley Young Professionals, and a committee member of the United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region’s Young Leaders United. Ms. Pagones is an annual participant in the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics. Since first participating in the Polar Plunge in 2010, she has raised over $11,000 for Special Olympics NY—Hudson Valley Region. She was the first and only woman to be included in The Champions Club for raising $2,500 or more in 2018. Additionally, she volunteered for three years through Literacy Connections of the Hudson Valley’s Book Buddies program. As a Book Buddy, she read one-on-one with a student at Krieger Elementary School in the City of Poughkeepsie for one hour each week striving to improve the student’s reading and writing skills and reading comprehension. She also served as a committee member for several years for the Dutchess County Leadership Prayer Breakfast and the Step Into Spring Fashion Show, benefiting the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

Ms. Pagones holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Marist College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from James Madison University. She is a 2014 recipient of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Forty Under 40 Award. Ms. Pagones is a lifelong resident of Dutchess County and currently resides in the Village of Fishkill. She is engaged to be married to Sean Kammerer in October 2018.

 

SILVER STARLITES

The Silver Starlites are a nationally competitive traveling baton twirling team based in the Hudson Valley of New York. They are directed and coached by Allison Stuart, Jessica Pulford, Lindsay Chudoba, and Deena Frank. The Silver Starlites became an established team in the early 1970’s when Sylvia Utter, a baton twirling legend, began the organization with an eye towards education. Being an educator herself, Mrs. Utter focused on teaching the sport as a way to develop fine motor skills in children of all ages. The program grew and competed at many local, state, regional, and national competitions. Mrs. Utter not only taught baton twirling, she taught twirlers how to teach the sport. One thing that separated the Silver Starlites from many other baton twirling organizations is the emphasis on feeder programming. After establishing the Silver Starlites, Mrs. Utter formulated school programs throughout Dutchess and Putnam Counties. Most of these school programs are still in existence today. Members of the Silver Starlites are able to share their teachings of the sport with younger children in these school programs so the cycle continues. Mrs. Utter’s focus and inspiration for the mission of the Silver Starlites remains today. As well as being a nationally recognized team, the Silver Starlites have also excelled in solo baton twirling with many members winning State, Regional, National, and World titles. The team works very hard as a Not-For-Profit by raising funds throughout the year. These funds help keep the costs low so that we can offer the sport of baton twirling to children who may not be able to afford a competitive sport otherwise.