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Alumni News

Albanese, Gillenwater, Kelton, Varvara honored for 20 years of molding leaders

Iona Prep is fortunate in many ways, not the least of which is the stability of its faculty and staff. At the May 19 Baccalaureate Mass, four staff members were honored with he Pro Operis Award for 20 years of service to the Prep.

It goes without saying that an institution such as Iona Prep functions in large part due to the efforts of its support staff. People such as School Counseling administrative assistant Mrs. Patricia Albanese.

Anyone who has encountered Mrs. Albanese in the course of applying to college or simply to make an appointment to see one of the counselors knows she is professional, unflappable, and sincere in her desire to be of assistance. During her 20 years at the Prep, she oversaw the transition from using multiple binders to track college applications and scholarships, to the implementation of a highly-efficient database program.

Mrs. Albanese is married and has four sons, Colin US'08, Kevin US'87, Christopher US'93 and Anthony US'97--who also attended the Lower School.

Mr. Darin Gillenwater US'86 is an Iona Prep graduate who returned in 1992 to coach track, and later football. He has taught at Iona Prep for the past 20 years and coached for the last 23.

Dr. Kevin Kelton holds the titles of Director of Mission Integration and Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages. Hired by former headmaster Brother William Stoldt, he immersed himself in the task of teaching language, from Spanish 1 through AP Spanish, to Latin 1 through Latin 4. Religion 1 and Religion 4 were thrown in for good measure over the years.

A consummate professional, Dr. Kelton has twice served as the internal coordinator for Iona Prep’s Middle States evaluation. He speaks English and Spanish fluently, while claiming to hold his own in Portuguese, French and Italian. He has used his verbal acumen by bringing Iona students to countries such as Spain, Portugal and Peru. Mission Peru, begun in 2010, is a favorite journey of his where he gets to share the Peruvian culture and life with our young men.

In his spare time, Dr. Kelton has ministered to the Iona community as the missions collection coordinator, music director and director of liturgies. He is an assistant cross-country coach with Jan Mitchell and, along with Mrs. McCarthy, he co-chairs the Pastoral team that emanates from the Middle States objective of developing the spiritual life of the Iona community.

Dr. Kelton holds master’s degrees in arts and divinity; his doctorate in Spanish is from Rutgers University. His son, Fernando, graduated from the Upper School in 2008.

Prior to arriving at Iona Prep in 1995, Ms. Nicolyn Varvara taught science at the college level as an adjunct and lab director for a science and technological literacy program. As a teacher of science at Iona Prep, Ms. Varvara has taught biology and AP biology, all levels of chemistry including AP, and is currently teaching physics.

She has been department chair of science, a co-moderator of Student-Faculty Council and Leadership Committee, and a moderator of the science club and the tennis club.

Ms. Varvara enjoys hiking, playing the piano, and arts and crafts. She is the mom of two daughters and is very proudly expecting her first grandchild in June.

Source: School Counselor Joseph Klein