Lyn Scolaro awarded 2012 Distinguished Service Award

By Aungelina Dahm
Executive Sports Editor|
On Nov. 16 at the annual American Association of Teachers of Italian (AATI) meeting in Philadelphia, Italian teacher Lyn Scolaro was presented with the 2012 Distinguished Service Award.
“The purpose of the Award is to recognize and further encourage the achievements and contributions of the members of the AATI for distinguished teaching and or published research in the fields of Italian language, literature, and civilization,” according to the official AATI website.
Scolaro has dedicated herself not only to Prospect for the last 22 years, but to many other important associations over the years as well.When she was in college, her professor recommended she become a member of the American Association of Teachers of Italian (AATI), and she has been ever since.
For the past 32 years, Scolaro has been a chairperson in every position except treasurer, and has been the President of the Midwest Chapter of the AATI for the past three years.
Scolaro was nominated on May 21 by her friend Beatrice D’Arpa of the Department of French and Italian.
“It was a nice idea that she nominated me, but then I really didn’t think about it since then,” Scolaro said. “Then I got a phone call in August that I was going to receive the award, but they told me I had to keep it a secret until the meeting.”
According to Scolaro, she has met brilliant professors that have written books and done research, and that they were her icons. She was excited that they were just as happy to meet her as she was with them.
Even more so, in the time that she has been President, the Midwest Chapter has been the most active and helpful of all chapters. She was happy to hear that the kind of work she is doing is paying off for everyone.
If she wasn’t able to go to all of the workshops and conventions that she has gone to, she wouldn’t have been able to bring back everything that she has learned.
“We’re very fortunate here at Prospect that if we want to go to a workshop, they’re going to make it happen for us,” Scolaro said. “There are a lot of Italian teachers that do not have that luxury in their schools.”
In addition to this award, Scolaro has won many others such as the Adviser of the Year award from the Illinois Directors of Student Services. Also, the Dante Award for the Italian teacher of the year in state level at the AATI, the Outstanding Contribution to Education Award from District 214 and the Bleeding Blue award for her work in all of the activities here at Prospect.
Her positions include Italian Club Assistant Advisor, Student Council Advisor, New Staff Mentor and Chairperson, Director of Graduation and Board Member and Convention Co-Chairperson of the Illinois Directors of Student Activities.
“I’m just a crazy lady,” Scolaro joked. “I don’t sleep!”
Scolaro has been a part of so many things in her 30 years of teaching, and she loves it.
“Everything I do is important,” Scolaro said. “I love teaching Italian, it’s my passion. And providing leadership opportunities for kids, and making school a fun place to be is really important to me too.”
In high school, she started working at age 13 as a freshman. She wasn’t able to be part of as many things as she wanted to be when she was a teen. That is possibly the reason she is in so many things now as a teacher.
“It was fun being a part of things that I think, maybe in the back of mind, I wanted to be a part of in high school,” Scolaro said. “I saw how much joy it brought kids and it was very rewarding to see kids accomplish stuff.”
Another reason could be the joy it brings to her when she can interact with her kids and could see them improve with their own ideas.
“I wanted to know kids, I wanted to build off my program,” Scolaro said. “I wanted to be more than just the Italian teacher. I wanted to know them. I’m only as good as the kids that I work with.”
Scolaro’s teaching and interaction with the students here at Prospect can give them important skills that can be used in the real world after high school.
“Kids don’t realize just how great school is here,” Scolaro said. “The time here is so precious and so valuable and so short. I like the fact that kids take certain skills from the activities and stuff that they’re in and use it to become residents of the world. Because when you leave here, you’re on your own.”