Students trade plants for pizza


Neighbors | Sarah Foor .Jennifer Slaven (right) lovingly placed her flowers in the soil under the Cocca’s Pizza sign.


After working hard, Steve Cocca (right) gave the kids a tour through his Poland pizza facility as a thank you.


After completing their planting, the Union students showed off their dirty hands with pride. The workers were, from left, Union principal Mike Masucci, Katie Masucci, Michael Cougras, Connie Cougras, Gabriela Romano, Hannah Masucci, Jennifer Slaven, Ian Lu, and Cocca’s Pizza owners Angel Cocca-Gabriele and Steve Cocca.


Hannah Masucci squeezed her flowers out of the plastic pot, getting ready to place the blooms in the soil.


Steve Cocca also offered a free meal to the gardeners. While munching down on his free wings and pizza, Ian Lu stopped to clean his fingers.


Since moving into its new location at 18 McKinley Way in Poland, Cocca’s Pizza has already welcomed students from nearby Union Elementary when they drop in for a slice.

Still, Union principal Mike Masucci wanted to offer a proper welcome to the neighborhood. After noticing a small garden underneath the Cocca’s Pizza sign, Masucci offered add some flowers to the space with the help of a few Union students.

After school hours on May 27, Masucci and seven students ventured to the pizza parlor from their home at Union.

Manager Steve Cocca was there to welcome the group and oversee the progress.

“We’d love to plant some flowers for you every spring, if you’d like,” Masucci told Cocca. The owner wholeheartedly agreed to the new tradition.

When it was time to plant, student Gabriela Romano said she wanted to make sure her hands were “filthy” after her work, and she fulfilled her promise.

Together, the students planted eight large flowers around the Cocca’s Pizza sign.

After getting their hands dirty, the kids cleaned up and Cocca offered an informal tour of the Poland store. Then, it was time for an on-the-house feast of pizzas, wings and drinks.

“The kids did a lot of hard work today. They completely deserve it,” Cocca said of the free feast.

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