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St. John's Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi Celebrates 50 Years of Leadership and Service

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

For the past half century, the Kappa Eta chapter of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), an international honor society in education, has exemplified St. John's University's commitment to Vincentian values. The group has molded future teachers into knowledgeable professionals while providing direct service to the local community.

The chapter celebrated this heritage on April 11 with a 50th anniversary gala at the Floral Terrace. The event honored not only members and alumni, but SJU faculty and administrators who embody the chapter's mission. Over 300 people attended the Oscars-themed event, which also recognized Jerrold Ross, Ph.D., dean of The School of Education, who is retiring this year.

"Students who are invited to join Kappa are not only doing very well academically, but they also have to meet specific standards," observed Charisse Willis ’89SVC, ’91GEd, ’95PD, associate dean and professor in The School of Education. "This organization is about being a role model and a leader.”

She added, "We want to surpass just being educators. We want to go into the community and make sure people are aware of important issues." KDP participates in national events such as Light it up Blue, which promotes autism awareness, and a chapter service initiative called Literacy Alive, which creates programs and events in local communities that develop literacy skills for their participants.

"I think what sets Kappa apart from other honor societies is our heart," observed Angela Fazio '16Ed. "We're all passionate individuals, and as ‘pre-service’ teachers, we're always looking to better ourselves and give back to others." Being a part of Kappa, "has taught us teamwork," stressed Lauren Valdivia '16Ed. "As a teacher, you're not working by yourself, you're collaborating with the whole school."

KDP hosts a number of professional development events that complement students' course work, noted Julia Sebastian '16Ed. "The workshops cover a lot of ground that your courses might not, and being a part of the executive board prepares us for dealing with our students." Katie Dineen '15Ed added that membership in KDP aids students and alumni in networking. "It's great to share our experiences with others," she said.

Cameron Dickson '16Ed said that being a part of KDP took her out of her comfort zone: she was called upon to organize a number of events as part of the society's response to Hurricane Sandy. "I've seen so much growth in myself,” she observed. “I've become more responsible and confident. It's really brought out my leadership qualities."