By SHERIDAN ROY
The 74th annual Southington chapter of UNICO National top 25 dinner celebrated the 25 highest academic achieving students in the Southington High School graduating class of 2019, as well as the newest inductees into the Italian National Honor Society.
UNICO National recognizes that a good education will serve not only the individual, but ultimately, his or her community. The Southington chapter of UNICO National recognizes outstanding academic achievement each year for that reason.
“The Southington UNICO values tradition and family,” said board of education chair Brian Goralski. He pointed out the five words that make up the Unican’s creed—unity, neighbor, integrity, charity and opportunity—and said there are five additional values that Unico represents: tradition, education, family, community and volunteerism.
“To the top 25, you inspire us to work harder each year,” said Goralski. “Remember what you’ve learned, continue to build upon it, come back and make our community great. Continue the work you’ve done at SHS.”
Superintendent of schools Tim Connellan congratulated the students and their families who made the top 25, along with the students in the INHS.
“This is a situation you find yourselves in not that often,” he said. “Our teachers and administration see your names and feel a great deal of pride, and realize that they were a small part of your success.”
There are over 500 students in the graduating class of 2019. SHS principal Brian Stranieri said the fact that 25 students out of the whole class have reached such an achievement is an amazing accomplishment.
“I got to thinking about what number 26 is doing tonight, and what the difference is between number 25 and 26,” said Stranieri. “I looked at the class of 2019 and got all the way to number 99 before there was one full decimal point difference. That’s how competitive our students are.”
Ten students were inducted into the INHS after meeting all requirements: students must be in the Italian program for three years, maintain a grade of 90 percent or higher, maintain an overall GPA of 85, and receive a teacher recommendation. Once students are inducted, they must maintain those requirements, and participate in community service.
“UNICO has provided students with opportunities to serve their communities,” said world language teacher Katherine Tavera-Collins. “The Southington chapter of UNICO National is the perfect mix of Italian-American, and the perfect balance to commitment to the Italian heritage and to community service.”
Tavera-Collins inducted each student into the INHS after they recited the pledge.
Class of 2019, Top 25
Maxwell Heath (valedictorian); Mia Langston (salutatorian); Aliya Sarris (essayist); Tyler Bade; Reilly Baker; Abhiram Bhamidipati; Owen Bouchard; Asami Castellano; Madelyn Chasse; Rebecca Dorzens; Julia Duszak; Chantelle Giminez; Jessica Griffin; Julia Jackman; Kate Kemnitz; Haley Larrabee; Abigail Lo Presti; Jenna Martin; Craig McPherson; Julia Michnowicz; Benjamin Palladino; Tyler Salzillo; Tyler Strong; Luke Tedeschi; and Alina Vigdorchik.
National Italian Honor Society inductees
Lexi Almeida; Zachary Florian; Jordin Gonzalez; Daniel Mauro; Matthew Mauro; Lucca Riccio; Lily Scalise; Joseph Tellerico; Stefania Votino; and Gianna Wadowski
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.