Thursday, 20 June 2013 00:00
Alyssa Acierno plans to major in Foreign Language Education at Hofstra University’s Honor College in the fall. Her ideal job would be educating on the middle and high school levels. She says that a year ago, if someone asked her if she wanted to be a teacher, she would have said no way.
“But I had an epiphany this year. I saw how thankful I was to be educated by the teachers at Carle Place and I want to give back the way they’ve given to me,” Acierno says. “I want students to appreciate the importance of foreign language. I want them to know it’s more than adjectives and verbs; it’s a culture.”
Acierno, who is Italian American, says a love of foreign languages and culture was instilled in her at an early age. She was raised speaking Italian, and immersed in traditions. Her grandparents shared stories of what life was like in Italy.
“I see a lot of my peers don’t have what I have and I was so lucky to be raised in a household that prides itself in tradition,” Acierno says.
Acierno is the president of the key club, editor of the school newspaper, president of the Spanish and Italian honor societies and vice president of the math honor society. She was also involved in mock trial, national honor society, chorus, ensemble singers and acted in numerous theater productions. She plays violin in the orchestra.
She says that being named salutatorian is a good reward.
“It was just me working hard and using my head and being honest and doing what I do best,” Acierno says. “I wasn’t competitive, I always just compete with myself. This is a nice way to end it.”
She knows that the work ethic she fostered in high school will prepare her for what lies ahead after graduation, and expresses gratitude for what her grandparents sacrificed for her.
“I’m preparing myself for the world out there,” she said. “My grandparents were immigrants, so I know how hard it was for them to make a life for me. I’m really thankful for everything they’ve done for me and it’s a way to honor my family.”
Other than her grandparents, Acierno credited her parents and one of her teachers, Ms. Buffalino, for helping mold her into the person she is.