Local language instructor Modica earns national honor

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Local Italian instructor Cristina Modica was among four educators honored last year by the Italian Language Foundation.

Bilingual from childhood, Modica studied Italian at the Italian Cultural Center in Stone Park throughout elementary school. She took language classes in high school, and majored in Italian and international business at Dominican University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree.

Modica taught Italian at the cultural center while earning her master’s degree in teaching with a concentration in English and world language methodology from DePaul University. She has been teaching Italian at Maine South High School in Park Ridge for more than 20 years.

“Cristina constantly strives to further students’ engagement with the Italian language, culture and people by combining innovative world language teaching methods, up-to-the-minute current topics, excursions to local Italian-American institutions and comprehensive travel experiences to different parts of Italy,” the Italian Language Foundation notes.

Modica earned the ILF’s Innovation in Teaching Award along with Ryan Calabretta-Sajder, an assistant professor and section head of Italian at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

The ILF bestowed Lifetime Achievement Awards on Mario Costa, a longtime Italian and Spanish teacher in New York City and Brooklyn, and Maria Enrico, a professor and former chair of the modern languages department at Borough of Manhattan Community College.


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Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.

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