Chris Cuomo: Mischief at Catholic School

ByABC News via logo
September 5, 2006, 11:00 AM

Sept. 5, 2006 — -- Chris Cuomo's path began at Immaculate Conception School in Jamaica, Queens, in New York.

"He loved people. He was truly a people person even as a young child," said Sister Loretta Murphy, a teacher at the school.

He also was already a bit of a ham, said his mother, Matilda.

"When [Chris' father,] Mario, was running and had to make speeches in front of groups, [Chris] would stand there next to his father thinking the applause was for him!" she said.

Chris quickly attached himself to a group of friends who reveled in those growing-up years.

"Each one of them was so cool in their own way," Chris said of his childhood friends. "Jose had his hair back, and he was the karate man -- you know he was like strong and tough. Romolo was a great rocker, and he was a big, big presence. DeStephano was quiet, very smart. George Cirolli was, you know, the big guy, sorta the tough guy."

Chris remembers that he always tried to eat his friend Romolo Gabrielli's lunch.

"Romolo always had these great latest snack treats that his mom packed in there," Chris said. "So, I would have to beg, borrow, and steal and do whatever I could to get a taste of that action."

Mary Grace Buckmaster remembers getting a Valentine gift from Chris in sixth grade.

"I remember he gave me a very sweet stuffed animal, a Papa Smurf doll," she said.

Chris also always liked to talk -- a lot -- his friends, family and teachers said.

"If we put him in a corner, he could probably talk to the wall," said one of his teachers, Stephen Ferenga. "And you'd probably hear the wall answering back."

In Chris' Catholic school, things were strict.

Early on, his mother found herself often called to the principal's office.

"All of a sudden this little boy comes running and hugs and kisses me saying, 'Oh, Mommy, you've come to visit us again?'" Matilda said.

His father, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, said Chris was unfazed.

"It didn't occur to him because he was a pain in the neck," he said.