By PETE FONTAINE
He has been called “a legend” as well as “one of the most dedicated educators in the history of Johnston High School”.
He established many of the school’s most legendary traditions, such as the homecoming, which is now the envy – and the showcase – of all schools in Rhode Island.
He has an unrivaled legacy that dates back to 1976 when he graduated from Johnston High School and is known to people in neighboring districts as “an educator for all seasons and all reasons”.
That’s why Gregory “Greg” Russo, who heads the science department at Johnston High School, was called in to last week’s school committee meeting where he was honored for restoring some normalcy to students’ social life.
“Mr. (Greg) Russo is truly the heart and soul of Johnston High School,” superintendent Dr. Bernard DiLullo told the five-member school committee and an attentive audience at the Interior of Nicholas A. Ferri Middle School Library “The many events and traditions that occur here are due to his love for his school and his students.”
DiLullo then said, “Each year, Mr. Russo coordinates the class battle that creates a special camaraderie across the entire student body. The same goes for our much-loved Homecoming, Spirit Week and Winter Ball, to name but a few of the major events.
Meanwhile, as DiLullo continued to praise the valued educator, who also serves as an assistant spring athletics coach.
“These are all traditions that students, their families and school staff look forward to and they are always spectacular events under Mr. Russo’s leadership,” DiLullo said.
Additionally, Russo serves – and loves to do so, he will happily attest to – the academic advisor for the still-active JHS Student Council which he has guided since 2003 and for the past few years as an advisor for the classes of 1990, 1994, 1999 and 2003. .
Russo has also provided valuable leadership – as well as pioneering new programs – as an academic advisor for SADD (students against dangerous decisions) since 1990.
Perhaps one of Russo’s all-time greatest contributions came many moons ago when he founded Johnston High’s varsity decathlon team and led it from inception until 2016.
Given that, as DiLullo pointed out, “The recognition that Vice President (Joseph) Rotella and the School Board have given Mr. Russo is well deserved and speaks to our appreciation for all that he does.”
Rotella, who said “I have a delightful duty to do here tonight,” called Russo to the center of the room where he presented her with a proclamation from the Johnson Town School Board, Johnston.
“Let everyone know,” Rotella began with a smile on his face and the sincerity ringing in his voice, Greg Russo “is hereby commended by the Johnston School Committee for his unwavering dedication, as as a Student Council Advisor, working diligently with fellow faculty and student council members, to organize the much-loved and traditional Homecoming and Winter Ball events at Johnston High School amid the challenges of the pandemic world.