Honoring success on the dance floor

[From right to left] Presley Bowser, Hannah Crites, Sapp, Pettorra and Laudermilt at the Honors Formal. Photo courtesy of Livia Laudermilt.

By Molly Burke
Jambar Contributor

After a long year of excelling in the classroom, volunteering for others and engaging with the community, Youngstown State University students gathered for the Sokolov Honors College’s annual Honors Formal on April 5 in Stambaugh Auditorium.

A $25 ticket guaranteed dinner, dancing and a chance to participate in a basket raffle. With over 200 tickets sold and the raffle, the starry-night themed event raised $2,250 for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign.

Treasurer for the Sokolov Honors Trustees is Caitlyn Sapp, a senior exercise science and psychology major and an honors teaching assistant. Sapp said the event invited campus to celebrate with honors students and commemorate their success.

“We invite all of our students, and we even invite them to bring whoever they want,” Sapp said. “It’s just a celebration. It’s just a chance for us to be together … to be surrounded by other honors students outside the classroom, outside of that strict environment, just to have some fun.”

Guests participating in the basket raffle could enter to win coffee baskets, Chick-Fil-A gift cards, a wine basket and more. Big-ticket items included a two-night stay in a New Jersey hotel close to New York City and an Ohio State University football helmet.

The 2024 Honors Formal was themes starry night. Photo courtesy of India Gatts.

Junior biology major Gabbrial Perrotta is the president of the trustees and an honors teaching assistant. Perrotta said guests were well fed at the event.

“It was catered by Stambaugh. We had chicken, potatoes, salad, green beans,” Perrotta said. “We had a big cookie table this year, which was fun. [We had] cookies from Butter Maid Bakery, Classic Bakery and Sam’s Club.”

Sapp said while it was a formal event, guests were welcome to come as they are.

“We list it as formal, but we honestly tell everyone to come in whatever they’re comfortable in. So, yes, we had people in floor-length ball gowns with their dates having matching ties, matching bow ties,” Sapp said. “We also had people come in khakis, jeans and a polo.”

Livia Laudermilt, a sophomore integrated language arts education major, is an honors teaching assistant and secretary of the trustees. Laudermilt said the trustees began planning the event at the beginning of spring semester.

“We probably have about 15 to 17 committee members who all come together to [plan the event],” Laudermilt said. “It did take so much work to plan this, and then to see it come together was the best thing.”

Laudermilt said the formal is especially important for freshmen to reflect on the success of their first year as a YSU honors student.

“We ask [honors freshmen] to have involvements and volunteer hours and you have to have so many honors classes,” Laudermilt said. “Being a full-time student, that takes a lot out of your time. So, having this honors formal is just like, ‘I did that, wow.’”

For Perrotta, the highlight of the formal was connecting with students in the classes she assists.

“A lot of our freshmen students were there. So, we got to see them, connect with them, make more friends and tell them what we do on campus,” Perrotta said.

Celeste Kapalin, a senior public and professional writing major and honors teaching assistant, went to the formal with friends. Kapalin also was glad to see her students.

“My favorite part of it was getting to hang out with my friends, get to see some of my students there, some of the other [teaching assistants] and honors staff that I’ve worked with over the past couple years,” Kapalin said. “Since I’m graduating, it was just a nice big last honors event to have fun and celebrate being in the honors college and all that it’s done for me.”

Editor’s note: Molly Burke is a member of the Sokolov Honors College.

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