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Spotlight on Grown up Islanders: Morgan Miceli

March 25, 2020
By PAULETTE LeBLANC ( , Pine Island Eagle

Morgan Miceli's parents came to Pine Island in the mid 1980s. Her mother took a job at Pine Island Elementary to stay close to the family, since she had been previously working off-island. Miceli recalls that people rarely left the island when she was growing up.

"Everyone I went to elementary school with had families that lived out here," said Miceli. "Anytime we had Girl Scouts, or a pool party, it was all the same people - all the islanders."

According to Miceli, if a person grows up on the island, there's a sense that it remains a part of you, bringing you back even if initially you move away. Although she says it's still one big community, she admits she's seen much growth since her grammar school days, adding that Hurricane Charley was a very memorable event bringing the island together like nothing else.

Article Photos

Morgan and Mike Miceli on their wedding day.


"The Beacon has grown so much," Miceli said. "When I was in high school, I remember my bus stop was right down the road from the old Beacon Store - after that they grew and grew and now they're in the Industrial Park. At this point, they're just huge and they do so much."

One of her joys, she says, is seeing families move to the island and pass on the same sense of community they found here to the next generation. Watching the communal Pine Island family grow each year, as traditions are kept, saved and then passed down, is something Miceli finds remarkable. In her senior year of high school her father had a bad accident while cleaning the roof of their home, resulting in a traumatic brain injury and an approximate two-month stay in the hospital. Her mother was unable to leave him during this time, leaving both of her parents out of work.

"The whole island stepped up and really came together for us," said Miceli. "Lisa, from the Olde Fish House, put on a huge benefit for us. That's where I think I saw it the most and why I will always, always support this community."

Miceli admits that whenever she meets people who are new to the island she can't help bragging and showing off the spirit of the community. She said she feels being raised as an islander has not only taught her how to treat people, but it's also given her a better understanding of the different ways people grow.

"Growing up out here," Miceli said, "I was always barefoot. We got to play and run around outside, but then I went to college and met these kids who never had that same experience."

She said the perspective that gave her likely changed the way she would choose to handle things that come up in her own life, adding that it gave her a better understanding of people and business, such as learning to adapt to the ideas of others. Although she moved to Australia for a time after college, Miceli says she still maintained friendships and connections built on the island throughout her childhood. The move had a deep impact on her, however, as she considered moving there to stay. After coming back to the island, she got a job and set her sights on moving to Australia for good. The job she took to make that money was at El Pollo Rico, where she met her future husband, Mike Miceli, and she never looked back. She said she loved every minute of her time "Down Under," but then loved coming back here to sit on her parent's dock and listen to the water, just as much. Miceli admits that even though she's an islander at heart, the big city appealed to her in ways perhaps people wouldn't suspect.

To people visiting or moving to Pine Island, Miceli recommends going deeper than the usual attractions, saying that's where the real island is found.

"Don't get me wrong," said Miceli, "there are a lot of beautiful tourist oriented things to see that are fun and a big part of this island, but I would say, check things out that you would never think of, like going down to Cap'n Cons for the best sunset of your life, going down to the mud flats to watch the sunrise or spend the day playing in the water. Spend a day at all the local eateries, or go down to the park - after the tourist thing, do the local thing yeah, do it like a local."



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