UNICO Donation Helps Offer Linguistic Lessons To Kids
Queensboro UNICO and the administration of P.S. 49 recently launched an after-school Italian language and cultural program for students from third through fifth grades at the Middle Village school.
The idea was the brainchild of Anthony D’Angelo, a member of Queensboro UNICO, and retired New York City public school teacher Rosalie Calvaruso. Vita Lombardo is also a teacher participating in the program.
D’Angelo is an active member of Queensboro UNICO, an Italian- American service organization which funds projects aimed at promoting and preserving Italian-American culture. Recently, he held a fund-raiser to help complete an endowed scholarship in Italian-American studies at Hofstra University.
The fund-raiser also provided proceeds to begin the Italian program at P.S. 49 as a way of preserving the culture with students in their more formative years and as a way to give back to the community. Calvaruso also maintains a strong desire to promote Italian culture to young people and to share that enthusiasm with the students.
Both D’Angelo and Calvaruso presented the idea to Anthony Lombardi, principal of P.S./I.S. 49, and he agreed to provide the classroom space needed to make the program flourish. The initiative is open to students from both P.S. 49 and other public and private schools around the area.
In addition to facility support for the program and providing a second language experience for grade school children, Lombardi also envisions extending the program beyond language to cultural events which highlight the Italian-American con- tribution to society.
The class officially launched on Apr. 17, and judging by the turnout, there was a strong interest among the students of P.S. 49 to learn more about the Italian language. Over 20 students from various cultures and backgrounds attended the program, which was led by Calvaruso.
She is approaching this class by teaching students a conversational approach to the language. Calvaruso has the youngsters participate in scenarios similar to traveling to Italy and having to communicate with local residents in Italian.
The Italian language after-school program will continue through June and then relaunch in the new school year in September.