Today: Jun 17, 2024

SCSU students inducted into National Italian Honor Society

Christian Carrion – Special to The Southern News

A month ago, Gabriela Russo, 20, woke up to one of the most important email messages she had ever received.

“I was very excited to find out I had been accepted to Gamma Kappa Alpha,” Russo, an Italian major, said. “I didn’t know a society like this even existed before now, so to be accepted into it is a huge honor.”

Gamma Kappa Alpha is the National Italian Honor Society. Presented to students who maintain an overall 3.0 GPA and have at least nine completed credits in advanced Italian courses, induction into Gamma Kappa Alpha is considered by many language educators to be quite prestigious—something that Russo, one of eight Southern students inducted into the society Thursday night, knows very well.

“This is going to look great on my resume,” Russo, an aspiring high school Italian teacher, said. “I set high expectations for myself, and they definitely paid off.”

“I was thrilled to hear she had been accepted,” said Rita Russo, Gabriela’s mother. “As a parent, it gives me an opportunity to brag.”

Paul Gramolini, 28, is another student who was accepted into Gamma Kappa Alpha. Gramolini, who also majors in Italian, said he was appreciative of the honor.

“It’s always good to receive an honorable mention for hard work,” Gramolini said. “I’ve worked very hard for this.”

The induction ceremony, held in the English Common Room at Southern ‘s Engleman Hall, was attended by family members and friends of the eight inductees, as well as several Italian professors. As they were individually called to the front of the room, each student lit a small candle to signify their undying commitment to Gamma Kappa Alpha’s motto, “Knowledge And Virtue.” The students then recited the society’s oath while holding those candles. Light refreshments were served as the inductees greeted their happy family members and beaming professors.

“I’m excited because the students are so excited,” said Professor Erin Larkin, assistant professor of Italian at Southern and organizer of the event. “I feel like I’ve followed these students through their college careers.”

Pina Palma, professor of Italian, also said that as these students have progressed; she has seen them grow, both in their knowledge of the Italian language and their appreciation of Italian culture.

“Their enthusiasm for the language spiraled into a greater love for the culture,” Palma, who was in attendance at the Gamma Kappa Alpha ceremony, said. “That excited us.”

“We’re planning different events on and off campus throughout the coming semester,” Larkin said. “There’s been a great deal of student interest in these kinds of events.”

Russo, however, said she’s not in it for the free trips.

“Earning this honor,” Russo said, “helps me to know and remember that I can excel in this subject that I want to turn into a career in the future.”

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