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September 10, 2022

Jack Franscioni celebrates 97th birthday with Soledad students

Singing, cake, birthday cards abound

SOLEDAD — Students at Jack Franscioni Elementary School celebrated the birthday of Jack Franscioni himself on Feb. 13.

Franscioni celebrated his 97th birthday on Feb. 1, and school officials put together a celebration in his honor, during which students sang to him and delivered hand-made birthday cards to him.

“First the kids sang happy birthday to him, and then they sang ‘Baby Shark.’ The kids had a good time with it,” said Superintendent Timothy Vanoli.

Franscioni attended the first-of-its-kind celebration along with his granddaughter, Erin Franscioni-Garcia.

“I can’t describe it,” said Franscioni of his reaction to celebrating with the hundreds of elementary students. “It’s surprising what they do down there with these kids, and they’re so well disciplined.”

Different grade levels came in at different times to sing, and a lunchtime cake cutting happened in time for the fifth graders to watch. The first graders handed him birthday cards and each personally wished him happy birthday.

“I read them all,” said Franscioni of the pile of cards he received from the students.

The celebration was put together by Principal Jamie Iverson after being informed by Vanoli that the Soledad Rotary Club celebrated Franscioni’s birthday.

“It’s not what they say, it’s what they do,” said Franscioni in reaction to the celebration. He added, “I wish all the kids got the opportunities these kids are getting right now. They don’t have schools like this all over.”

Franscioni said in jest that he’d like to make it to 100 years old, and noted, “We’ll see what they’ll say then.”

Sean Roney
Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.