Gamma Zeta named top KDP chapter in nation

Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society of education, presented the College’s chapter of the organization, Gamma Zeta, with its prestigious Ace of the Achieving Chapter Excellence (ACE) Award, recognizing it as the top chapter in the nation. Gamma Zeta accepted the award at the 45th Biennial Convocation held in Orlando, Fla. from Nov. 3 to 5.

Gamma Zeta was selected for this honor from a group of 36 chapters nationwide that were recognized with ACE Awards.

According to Kappa Delta Pi’s official Web site, ACE Awards are presented to chapters that embody the mission of the society. The mission is shown through excellence in programming and involvement in activities promoting ideals such as leadership, community involvement and professional development, the site says.

According to the site, the Ace of the ACE Award is presented to ACE chapters that “exceed requirements for the ACE Award.” Community involvement, participation in society conferences and diversity in programming are among the factors considered in granting the award.

“Our Gamma Zeta chapter was awarded the Ace of the ACE Award due to our demonstration of strong community involvement and impressive, unique programming,” Jennifer Lease, senior elementary education/Spanish major and vice president of Gamma Zeta, said.

Recently, the organization’s community service activities have included a program that teaches children in local schools about voting, participation in a “Light the Night” walk at the College to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and a book and clothing drive for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Later this month, members of Gamma Zeta plan to raise money for Oprah’s Angel Network by volunteering to wrap presents at the Princeton Market Fair. Oprah’s Angel Network, founded by Oprah Winfrey, reaches out to many different causes.

Gamma Zeta also hosts a silent auction every spring to raise money for various charities. In the past two years, its members have raised more than $7,000.

Members of Gamma Zeta also participate in events for the College’s Council for Exceptional Children.

In receiving the award, the chapter was represented by Lease; Gamma Zeta president Megan Long, senior elementary education/psychology major; Michelle Maldari senior elementary education/ psychology major and Gamma Zeta treasurer; Shaitra Flores, senior psychology and elementary education major and historian; Tanya Messina, senior elementary education/English major and chapter member and Anthony Conte, chapter counselor and associate professor of elementary and early childhood education at the College.

The members of Gamma Zeta expressed appreciation for their supporters.

“I would like to thank Dr. Conte, our chapter’s advisor, for his outstanding guidance and unwavering support,” Lease said.

“The chapter is extremely indebted to William Behre, interim dean of the School of Education and Jean Konzal, chairperson of the department of Elementary Education,” Messina said. “Without their support, our success would not be what it is today.”

“We are a very hard-working group of students and leaders,” Long said, “and to receive this sort of recognition was the greatest honor we could have imagined.”