The Gold Medal goes to the man with the golden tongue: Language teacher Alphonse D’Angelo will be honored by UNICO

Alphonse D’Angelo has been teaching foreign languages to locals since the 1960s.

By JEN CARDINES

STAFF WRITER

Southington UNICO named Alphonse D’Angelo as the 2016 Gold Medal Award recipient, the club’s most prestigious honor that has been awarded annually to a town resident since 1945. He will be honored during the Gold Medal Award Dinner on Wednesday, May 17, at 6 p.m. at the Aqua Turf Club.

Tickets are still available for the event.

D’Angelo is a life-long member of the Southington community. In fact, the D’Angelo’s were the third Italian family to settle in Southington when Alphonse’s maternal grandmother came to town from Italy in 1875 and his father in 1911. His family grew up on Bristol Street.

“We were honored to nominate Alphonse D’Angelo for the 2016 Gold Medal,” said UNICO gold medal selection committee chair Mark Sciota. “He has worked tirelessly with many Italian-American organizations in Southington and is always ready to volunteer for any project, especially those including Southington’s youth.”

After obtaining his bachelor’s degree from Boston College, D’ Angelo taught French, Italian, and eventually Spanish at Southington High School, where he was employed for over 30 years. Along the way, he continued his education at Central Connecticut State University in the master’s program for teaching. He then received a sixth-year degree in Spanish from the University of Arizona.

Though he retired in 1997, he continues to teach languages and volunteer throughout the Southington community. D’Angelo held many volunteer positions at St. Thomas church, and he currently volunteers his time with the Sons of Italy where he teaches Italian classes twice a week to both beginners and more seasoned linguistic learners.

“Over the years, he has worked tirelessly with Southington children as well as St.  Thomas church and other community organizations,” Sciota said.

D’Angelo didn’t just teach Southington’s youth. He also taught English to immigrants in the town’s Adult Education Program, along with teaching Italian classes at St. Peter’s Catholic School in Torrington. D’Angelo even tutored a group of Suffield priests in Spanish, among others.

He is a longtime member of the Southington Historical Society.

Tickets for the dinner cost $55 and can be obtained at Fasulo & Albini CPAs, 16 Cornerstone Ct. in Plantsville; Simply Wireless, 750 Queen St. in Southington; or Southington Insurance, 85 Liberty St. inSouthington.

The UNICO mission is to contribute to the well-being of local communities by making significant contributions to deserving local and national charities. UNICO strives to honor, perpetuate and disseminate the culture and ethnic heritage of our Italian immigrant ancestors, by supporting higher education and by educating and informing our members, local communities and our nation.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Jen Cardines, email her at JCardines@SouthingtonObserver.com.

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