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East Leyden instructor Michele Curley

Michele Curley’s love of languages and cultures started at age 14. That’s when her grandmother, Filomena Conversano Pesano, who at 17 had left Basilicata and journeyed alone to the United States, decided to take Michele, her five siblings and her parents back to Basilicata. “It was a really transformative experience,” Curley, an Italian teacher at East Leyden High School, says of the month-long visit. They met relatives, took road trips around southern Italy, returned to Basilicata and then went north to Rome, Florence, Pisa and Venice. When they returned to the Chicago area, Curley wanted to take Italian when she ...

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Highland Park High instructor Maria Barbanente

  Prior to arriving at Highland Park High School two years ago, Maria Barbanente had already blazed a trail where life’s adventures had added depth to her linguistic skills. The daughter of native Italians from the Puglia region, Barbanente had a master’s degree in education, and a certification in Spanish, by the time she arrived in Madrid, Spain to teach English for two years. It was hardly her first time in Europe. “Learning the Italian language and having been fortunate enough to travel to Italy every summer as a child, I was able to further explore the Italian culture and ...

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Casa Italia language classes

The Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia will once again offer a wide range of Italian classes for both children and adults at sites across the Chicago area. Parents can choose from exploratory classes for 5- to 7-year-olds and beginning, intermediate and advanced classes for children ages 8 to 13. Adult classes range from beginning and intermediate to advanced and advanced conversational. Private lessons for children and adults also are available. (708-345-5933) http://casaitaliachicago.net

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Dominican U hosts superb St. Joseph Table

  This year marked another great feast in honor of Saint Joseph at Dominican University. Under the supervision of Prof. Tonia Triggiano, students and volunteers fed more than 200 people, raising a record-breaking $1,195, which was gifted to Catholic Charities. Such foods as gelato, fine cheeses, pastas and Italian sweets were donated by local kitchens and eating establishments. None of it would be possible without the collaborative help of the students, faculty, staff and alumni who call themselves “Gli Amici di San Giuseppe.” The Dominican University community played a big role in putting together the table. Michael Meranda, a Dominican ...

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Prospect High hosts glittering Serata Italiana

  At our annual celebration honoring the Italian students inducted into the National Honor Society, “Società Onoraria Italica-Sezione Cristoforo Colombo,” the Prospect High School Italian Program showcased the hard work of students at Prospect High and St. Raymond’s and honored members and organizations in the community who share the passion of Italian with the Italian students at Prospect. The Copernico exchange students from Verona and Prospect teamed up with the SOAR Program at Fairview to send the beloved children’s book character Flat Stanley to Verona over the holidays. The SOAR children were presented with a framed collage of photos of ...

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American Association of Teachers of Italian Year in Review

  What a fabulous year the American Association of Teachers of Italian-Midwest Chapter has had! Our current membership stands at 50 with an increased number of 16 from 2014. Four of these members are from Indiana and Ohio. There are ommittees currently in progress working on an Immersion Day scheduled for February, 2016, in collaboration with College of DuPage and to create a “Why Take Italian?” brochure for parents and students in the middle school. On November 7, 2014, the AATI-Midwest held its second annual Fall Conference, “Oltre ai Limiti,” with partial sponsorship by Italidea-Midwest. There were 39 colleagues from ...

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Families sought to host Italian exchange students

The Chicago office of AFS-USA is looking for host families who are willing and able to take in several Italian students this summer. AFS-USA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, offers international exchange programs in more than 40 countries around the world through independent, nonprofit AFS Organizations, each with a network of volunteers, a professionally staffed office, and headed up by a volunteer board.  We’ve been exchanging students throughout the world for more than 65 years. That’s six decades of history and experience in international education with an exemplary record of safety, security, and service to students, parents, and educators. Ilaria (17) ...

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IC Catholic Prep hosts stellar St. Joseph’s Table

  by Raffaella Lostumbo IC Catholic Prep’s “Ciao Italia” Italian club hosted another wonderful St. Joseph’s Day Table on March 19. Thanks to generous parental support, there was a large variety of Italian traditional foods, sweets, and beverages. Italian music provided a lively atmosphere for conversation and just plain fun. This event, held annually, is open to the members of the Italian club and their families. Alumni and Staff are also welcome to attend. This event offers the opportunity not only for the students to bond and have a good time, but also for families to socialize with other families. I ...

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Ace that AP Italian test!

High school Italian language instructors across the Chicago area are encouraging their students to sign up, study for and take the AP Italian exam. Students can register until mid-March either with their school testing coordinator or by visiting apcentral.collegeboard.com. A fee of $89 is payable by credit card. Seniors in Italian 4 are eligible. “Students who pass the exam can earn college credit,” AATI Midwest co-President Lyn Scolaro points out. “AP and Italian 4 students are enrolled in rigorous courses that require exemplary achievement that can benefit them as they continue their education.” (lyn.scolaro@d214.org)

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New Year’s Eve in italiano

I Ciceroni rang in the New Year at Porretta’s Banquets with plenty of food, music and conversation with a strong Italian flavor. Founded by language instructor Maria DiMarco to honor, maintain, practice and improve the Italian language skills of its members, the club meets the first Wednesday of every month at Nonna Graziella’s at Casa Italia in Stone Park. Speaking primarily in Italian, members enjoy dinner as DiMarco infuses vocabulary, grammar and culture lessons into the conversation. DiMarco also sends out a monthly communication filled with proverbs, poetry, lessons and news. (708-562-7915)

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