Jessica Scarcella, Verrazano Senior Convocation Student Speaker (third from left) is joined by fellow graduates before processional into the Convocation ceremony.

The Verrazano School at CSI celebrated its first annual Verrazano Senior Convocation on Wednesday, May 25 in the Center for the Arts.

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The Class of 2011 is the second graduating class from The Verrazano School and the first Verrazano class in which students entered the prestigious honors program as incoming freshmen. There are also students in the graduating class who were accepted to the program after the freshman year as transfer students. In all, 42 students graduated from the honors program this year and as the program grows, so will the family of Verrazano alumni.

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Available to all majors, the students receive extra support from full-time faculty, benefit from smaller class sizes and priority registration, and perhaps more importantly, personalized academic advisement and career preparation.

“Students will not get lost in this program,” said Katie Geschwendt, Coordinator of The Verrazano School. “We stay in close communication with, and provide support for, students to help them have the most successful and fulfilling undergraduate experience possible.”

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The Verrazano School serves as a springboard for exceptional, highly motivated students who meet the academic requirements needed to enroll. Students in the honors program receive added assistance and guidance in pursuit of internships, research, career opportunities, or preparation for graduate studies.

Students also work closely with academic leaders, assessing the program and providing valuable insights on how to help the program evolve to better meet the needs of the students. This invaluable two-way discussion contributes to the growth and success of the program.

Dr. Charles Liu, the Verrazano Director, not only served as Master of Ceremonies for the Convocation but also provided the background piano music to the event as guests arrived.

“We’re running this event on a budget,” he joked. More seriously, he told the audience, “This Convocation celebrates the 2011 graduates of The Verrazano School and their wonderful achievements. I’m privileged and honored to have been able to get to know these remarkable students who have accomplished so much in their time at CSI.”

The featured speakers were Mr. Vullnet Kolari, Alumni Board President; Dr. Ann Lubrano, Acting Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Academic Programs; and Jessica Scarcella, this year’s Verrazano Senior Convocation Student Speaker.

It was apparent during the Convocation that the faculty and staff formed a close bond with the students over the past four years as they all expressed pride and excitement for their students.  “It is extremely rewarding to work with students from freshman year to graduation and see the transformations that occur as they become involved in opportunities such as internships, research, community service, and study abroad,” said Ms. Geschwendt. “Verrazano students take advantage of opportunities within and outside of the classroom, and this makes them well-rounded and ready to take on whatever they choose to do in the future.”

The Dessert Reception, generously sponsored by the CSI Alumni Association, featured a delectable treat making its premiere on the campus: homemade miniature pies with sumptuous apple, peach, and chocolate cream filling adorned with a fresh-made pastry Verrazano “V” on top. The reception offered the opportunity for students to celebrate with their family and friends, professors, and CSI administrators and alumni.

This year’s graduating Verrazano class consists of students representing 17 majors, and the graduating class’ overall GPA is 3.475—an  exceptional number for an entire graduating class.

While many of the students are already prepared to enter the workforce, most will continue their academic careers in graduate programs at schools including Columbia University, College of Staten Island, CCNY, Brooklyn College, New York University, and Rutgers University.