Perazones make the grade at Roxbury
By Julia Green
For anyone coming of age during the late 1990s, the phrase “girl power” likely carries with it thoughts of a particular quintet of female British pop stars. In Delaware County, however, that particular idiom can refer to a different five women altogether, and for the Perazone family of Roxbury, it is less a cultural phenomenon or homage to third-wave feminism and more a family tradition of academic excellence.
When Roxbury Central School valedictorian Angela Perazone delivered her valedictory address at Roxbury’s commencement ceremony on Saturday morning, she was extending a precedent set by her older sisters and cousins over the past 14 years. Brothers Brian and David Perazone, sons of Betty and Ed Perazone of Roxbury, have between them five daughters, all of whom have graduated at or near the top of their classes.
First is Brian’s daughter Lisa, Roxbury Central School’s salutatorian from the class of 1998 and the valedictorian at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. She graduated summa cum laude from Saint Joseph’s in 2002 and earned a fellowship to Harvard. Featured in the university “Who’s Who” publication, Lisa currently teaches second grade in Massachusetts.
Next in line
Lisa’s sister Kristina, Roxbury’s valedictorian from the class of 2006, graduated with Latin honors in 2010 from SUNY Oneonta, where she studied fashion and design. Currently she has her own dressmaking business in addition to working as an assistant manager at a retail business in Cooperstown.
Lisa and Kristina’s youngest sister, Angela, graduated on Saturday as the valedictorian of Roxbury Central School’s class of 2012. She received a scholarship to attend Siena College, where she intends to study marketing.
David’s daughter Tracey, valedictorian at Roxbury in the year 2000, received a full scholarship to attend Colgate University, where she was Phi Beta Kappa and graduated summa cum laude in 2004. After completing her undergrad in pre-med, she attended the University of Rochester Medical School, where she also graduated summa cum laude in 2008 and was a member of the National Medical Honor Society.
Currently, Tracey is a pediatrician in Rochester and is poised to begin private practice in July.
Tracey’s sister Kerri, RCS valedictorian in 2003, graduated magna cum laude from Bucknell University in 2007 and received a full three-year scholarship to the University of San Diego School of Law. She is currently a third-year law student on track to graduate next spring.
“I don’t like to brag about things, but we’re very proud of them, and I think they do great things,” said the ladies’ grandmother Betty Perazone.
“People always tell us what wonderful children they are, and how well they’re doing, and it’s good to know it’s not just what we think they are.”
In addition to their considerable success with their studies, the women were highly involved in extracurricular activities at Roxbury, including participation in band, chorus, athletics, theater and the Science Olympiad.
One might suppose that a tradition of excellence might breed expectation or competition, but Betty says nothing could be farther from the truth.
“Our family is very supportive of each other; there’s no competition between the cousins. They are all very congenial with each other, and they think each other’s accomplishments are great. You can run into problems with that, but they don’t.”
And, in a society where parents attempt to walk the line between “tiger mothers” and something closer to the opposite end of the spectrum, Betty believes that a few traditional elements likely played a significant part in her granddaughters’ academic successes: discipline, responsibility, and genes.
“They weren’t allowed to run around or hang out on the streets; they all learned discipline and responsibility and they knew they had to do what was expected of them, and I think that had a lot to do with it.”
Betty credits her husband’s academic aptitude with the likely genetic predisposition toward success. Ed Perazone graduated magna cum laude from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, N.J., where he studied engineering. Following his studies, Ed was one of the founding partners of Alta Log Homes.
“I would say some of the genes from my husband they must have gotten,” Betty said. “He is really, extremely, overly bright. I would say they take after their grandfather.
“The other nice thing about all of them is that they do not talk about their achievements,” Betty added. “They don’t brag, they don’t boast – you usually have to hear from someone else or from their parents to find out about it, and I think that’s a wonderful characteristic, I really do.”