Alumni Feature – Mark Moretti, Class of 1971

morettimark_p-c1Mark Moretti was a member of the Class of 1971 – the first graduating class from the “new” high school on the hill.  Anyone who was around at that time knows this was a big deal!  From the old-fashioned building on Main Street to the open concept education plan on Top Notch Road was a huge adjustment for faculty, students, parents and administration alike.

However, Mark begins his reminiscing by recalling his earlier years…

I have a lot of great memories of growing up in Little Falls, including sledding in Eastern Park; football games in the St. Mary’s parking lot (before they added a building); hardball games in Eastern Park; trips with classmates out to Pine Lake, Caroga Lake and Spruce Lake; fishing at West Canada Creek and Five Mile Dam; scouting with Troup 13; basketball and tennis up at Vet’s Park; being a kid at St. Mary’s playground and later heading the summer recreation program for the city; being on the swim team at the public pool and some grueling basketball games in the pool; picnics up at Moreland Park; shooting pool at Adam’s Pool Hall; canvassing the whole city at Halloween on our own; and most of all the security of a close extended family and a small community where everybody knew everybody and was willing to lend a hand.

It’s difficult to recall a favorite memory from 45 plus years ago, but I can say I remember pinning my opponent in a wrestling match to give Little Falls a one point win over Oneonta, a much bigger school in the old Iroquois League.  It was the first time we had beaten Oneonta in a very long time and the look of pure joy on Coach Young’s face will remain with me for all my life!

As for a favorite teacher, I had several.  I remember Mrs. Guziwich, who was the first teacher to suggest I become a lawyer and Mr. Kotary’s “knowledge is power” mantra.  And then there were Ms. Grabinski and Mr. Allen who taught my favorite subject – Social Studies.

I was also fortunate to have Henry Blumberg as my earliest mentor into Law.  He was then Herkimer Court D.A. and hired me as a volunteer research intern when I was in college.  It was a great learning experience and at the end of the summer, he gave me a stipend out of his own pocket so he could be the first to give me a legal paycheck.  I’m not sure this opportunity would ever occur in a larger city.

Law was always my passion.  I’ve practiced law for 39 years around the State of New York and have represented Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and individuals in navigating the legal complexities in modern life.  Most of my legal career has been spent at Phillips Lytle LLP (a 187 lawyer firm which had President McKinley as one of its early partners) where I was elected partner in 1985, as the youngest partner in the modern history of the firm.

I feel humbled being asked to give advice to young people today, but I believe my suggestions evolve from my small town roots.  Lead a balanced life.  Have empathy, compassion and kindness for your fellow residents of this planet.  Work hard.  Play hard.  Volunteer in your community; participate in sports and activities you like.  Read broadly and stay out of trouble, or at least serious trouble.

Have you noticed a common thread running through these “Where Are We Now”? articles?  So many of our Little Falls High School alumni have mentioned the importance of extended families, the security of living in a small town where everyone knows each other and looks out for one another.  Larger cities may offer more opportunities for recreation and entertainment, but there truly is something to be said for the comfort and unique qualities found in a small town environment.  Thank you, Mark, for sharing your story and your sentiments!

Mark currently lives in Pittsford, New York with his wife, Joyce, (celebrating their 40th anniversary next year) and their golden retriever, Buddy.  His daughter, Anne, is a corporate lawyer in Dallas and his son, Jeff, is a financial analyst in Manhattan.  Professionally, Mark has been recognized with a number of awards including recognition of Best Lawyer in America for 10 years (Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” in 2012 in Rochester in Construction Litigation), Super Lawyers for 10 years, Chairman of the Trial Lawyers Section of New York State Bar Association (representing over 2,000 trial lawyers throughout New York State), The Daily Record “Leaders in Law Award,” and President of the Monroe County Bar Association.  He has also been active in volunteer organizations, including acting as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Foodlink (a food bank servicing a 10 county area), a member of the Board of Directors of Volunteer Legal Services, a coach and board member of The Mustangs Soccer Club, and a Board Member of the Bristol Harbor Homeowner Association among others.

The Little Falls High School Alumni Network’s Where are They Now series was initiated in January of 2015.  This feature highlights individuals who have enhanced their lives and/or the lives of others using the foundation of the education they received at LFHS or St. Mary’s and the family values they developed while growing up in Little Falls.  Success isn’t always defined by financial achievements.  Many people find personal satisfaction by giving back to their communities, organizations or to others in general.  Those on the receiving end of these heartfelt contributions may consider this person in the highest regard as well.  With this being said, we are looking for individual nominations of Little Falls alumni who have made a difference in the lives of others as well their own.  Before submitting your nominations (to AlumniLFHS@gmail.com), please confirm your nominee is currently registered on the Little Falls Alumni Website as this is also a requirement.

About AlumniLFHS@gmail.com

Chiropractor, Santiago Chiropractic Associates, Lake Hiawatha, NJ. Director of Alumni Communications, LFHS Alumni Network.

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