Lex Colato spent the past four years starring on the Blue Devil football and basketball teams and impressing fans with his take-no-prisoners style of play. The Huntington High School senior has been a leader and role model and he’s given his teammates and coaches everything he has physically and emotionally. The teenager is this year’s recipient of the Justin Louis Giani Memorial Scholarship Award.
Mr. Colato is a genial young man, but once he enters the athletic arena he goes all out to win. He doesn’t seek out the limelight, but it always manages to find him because he is always in the middle of the action. He does the grunt work that isn’t necessarily flashy, but is essential to any winning team.
Just like Mr. Giani during his years in a Blue Devil uniform, Mr. Colato got an awful lot done without calling attention to himself. A good nickname for the Huntington senior is Mr. Reliable. He shows up, in the fullest sense of the term.
Mr. Colato plans to study nursing at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. He is an exceptional young man from an excellent Huntington family that loves him with all their collective heart. The Colato family, including mother and father, Desireé and Lex Sr., younger sister, Izabelle and younger brother, Jayson are always on the scene, cheering Lex on from the bleachers.
The Justin Louis Giani Memorial Scholarship Award carries a stipend of $4,000, allotted in the amount of $1,000 annually in each of four years of college.
“I am extremely honored and so grateful to receive this award,” Mr. Colato said. “I couldn’t have done it without my parents, teammates, coaches and friends supporting me throughout high school. I want to thank the Giani family for giving me this reward. I honestly can’t thank them enough. I am so honored. I also want to give a special shout-out to Ms. [Maria] Canino for supporting me endlessly. Thank you so much for your support and love throughout my high school career. Thank you so much. I will forever be a Blue Devil and will forever have Blue Devil pride.”
Just like Mr. Colato, Justin Giani was a wonderful young man. Friendly, loyal, competitive, big-hearted and with a fun sense of humor, he was the type of athlete who quickly forms the backbone of any team.
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 a shocking and senseless loss to his family as well as to 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. The Justin Louis Giani Memorial Scholarship is among the most treasured awards presented annually to Huntington’s top seniors.
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.”
A living memorial dedicated to Mr. Giani has been erected in the grassy area outside the entrance to the Huntington High School gym. It is passed by hundreds of students, faculty, staff and parents daily.
Justin Louis Giani Memorial Scholarship Award Recipients
2016 Daniel Mollitor (Binghamton University)
2017 Nicholas Lanzisero (Binghamton University)
2018 Luke Eidle (Rutgers University)
2019 Christie Baade (University at Albany)
2020 Lex Colato (University of Bridgeport)