Agata Pavone’s career inspiration came from the classroom. As a young girl growing up on the Italian island of Sicily she developed a deep admiration for her teacher. “While going through elementary school I had great respect for my teacher who followed us for the first five years,” she said. Years later Pavone would become a teacher in Sicily. She put her career on hold when she met her future husband, Angelo, and moved to New York City where he was operating a couple of pizza businesses. In 1971 they moved to Central New York, gave birth to their first son and brought Pavone’s Pizza to the region.
As the pizza business grew Agata Pavone focused on raising the family and kept alive the hope of returning to teaching one day. When their youngest son entered middle school she enrolled part-time at Onondaga Community College. “I was so excited to start my educational journey over again,” she said. “OCC provided me with a great support system of faculty and counselors and a great education as well.” Pavone would graduate in 1986, go on to earn an advanced degree and become a teacher at Syracuse University.
When looking back on her journey Pavone considers herself fortunate her hard work paid off. “I had to teach myself English and adjust to new customs all while raising a family and going to school to fulfill my dream of teaching. I always told my kids, ‘you get what you put in.’ That’s exactly what I did at OCC. I worked hard and the College gave me the tools and preparation to succeed. For that I am forever grateful.”