As the founding president of Kajola-Kristada, a manufacturing company based on the island of St. Kitts, W.I., Laurie Anne Mezzalingua led the family’s involvement in Immaculate Conception Catholic School on the island capital, Basseterre. The family funding began with a building to house a library and learning studies programs, appropriately named by her family The Laurie Mezzalingua Resource Center.
From this initial building came a commitment from Laurie and her family to build a new school on the existing property. Completed in 2011, the campus now has three additional new buildings, a student body of 450 students and is equipped with leading-edge Biology and Chemistry labs and a new computer lab with 24 computers for student use.
Born in Manlius, NY on June 10, 1968, Laurie was the third child in a family of six children. A lifelong learner, she was a 1986 graduate of Manlius Pebble Hill and Boston University in 1990 where she double-majored in Chinese History and Communications. She loved music all her life and most recently studied piano, she played in her first recital in 2005. She was a self-taught and gifted video editor who created landmark moments of her family and friends’ lives as moving tributes. Her favorite subjects were her nieces and nephews. She was a favorite among her family and friends as godmother to their children, earning that honor six times. She loved the authenticity and kindness of children and connected with them on all levels. This enthusiasm led her parents in 2005 to gift a building which houses all of the Pre-K and Kindergarten programs on the Manlius Pebble Hill Campus and was named The Laurie Mezzalingua Early Education Center.
Her sense of humor and compassion resulted in instant connections with people she knew and those she just met. Laurie’s devotion to God and her enduring faith brought her peace. Her daily prayers always began with an expression of gratitude for all her blessings and acceptance of her disease.
Her departure on the Fourth of July, 2009 was symbolic. She was an elegant and independent woman who charted her own course in life. She had the courage to challenge her western doctors for more than they were able to give, the grace to accept their limitations, and the will to proceed into alternative Chinese therapies that extended her life by more than six years. Her life, resilience, and gift of “self for others” was a testament to the strength of God working through us.
Thank you, Laurie for your love of children, your commitment to philanthropy, and your inspirational life.