West Orange High School Italian Club Presents "Benvenuti al Sud" Scholarship Dinner

Senior Dylan Pennell sings. Credits: Suzanne Pennell
Senior Kristen Vargas. Credits: Belle Zhang
The Tarantella. Credits: Belle Zhang
Italian dance. Credits: Belle Zhang

WEST ORANGE, NJ— The West Orange High School Italian Club held its annual Scholarship Dinner on Friday, May 2 in the Tarnoff Cafeteria. This year's theme was “Benvenuti Al Sud,” celebrating Southern Italy.

The night began with an introduction from Italian Club officers, Dylan Pennell and Tiffany Canjura, followed by the singing of both the Italian National anthem, "Canto degli Italiani," performed by members of the Italian Club, and the Star Spangled Banner, performed by David Beckford and Kosi Amaefuna. 

Greetings from Assistant Superintendent Dr. Donna Rando, Principal Hayden Moore, and World Languages Supervisor Laura Arredondo kicked off the night as they recalled personal anecdotes and congratulated the students on their hard work. For Dr. Rando, the night was particularly meaningful, as her parents are from the southern part of Italy.

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A menu comprised of Southern Italian foods was served, including penne alla vodka, Conchiglie (Shell pasta), and a bountiful dessert table filled with cannolis, tiramisu, crème puffs, and various other treats. During dinner, a presentation about the different regions of southern Italy  includeing Calabria, Sardegna, Sicilia, Puglia, and Campania was shown on a large screen.

Songs from each region were performed with accompanying dances, including the “Calabrisella Mia” sung by Dylan Pennell. Both club members and audience members danced along. The “Domo Mea” sung by Dylan Pennell, Gianna Smith, and Kristen Vargas, with dance accompaniment from Michael Leonardis and Rachel Santos, followed. Other songs and dances were performed, with small presentations preceding each one.

The Scholarship Awards for Italian Night were given to seniors Kevin Aguilar, Dylan Pennell, Kristen Bolen, Gianna Smith, and Julia Rucko. The evening ended with an open dance floor and prizes.

Secretary of  the Italian Club, Kristen Vargas, said, “I’m so happy the night turned out well. We all worked really hard and it’s nice to put out something great in the end.”

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