East Boston resident leads effort to establish Italian language program at Canton High School

216

Domenic Amara PhD, of East Boston assists Canton Public Schools as it adds the Italian language to its World Languages Program

Canton High School has added Italian Language to their World Languages course offerings this year as a result of a coordinated effort between the Canton Public Schools and a large community of supporters organized by several Italian American organizations including the Italian American Alliance (IAA), The Pirandello Lyceum and the Cultural Italian American Organization (CIAO).

East Boston
World Language Program at Canton High School.

The effort was the brainchild of Paul Sergi, MD, a resident of Canton and a longtime advocate for expanding learning opportunities in Italian Language and culture, with technical support provided by Domenic Amara PhD, the former Academic Superintendent of Boston Public Schools and the Chairman of the Italian American Alliance and President of the Pirandello Lyceum. 

The new program at Canton High School is the culmination of two years of collaboration with Canton Public School elected officials, school administrators, and teachers and local community leaders including local Massachusetts legislators and the office of the Consul General of Italy in Boston. 

Dr. Sergi said that it was gratifying to see a community come together and that he was particularly thankful for the support of Representative Bob Consalvo,Consul General of Italy Dr. Arnaldo Minuti,  and Education Specialist Ivana Marroncello PhD.  

“Consul General Minuti was very supportive of this initiative,” said  Amara.  “He recognizes the commitment of Italian Americans in the Boston area, building on the efforts of his predecessor Consul General Federica Serini who also encouraged initiatives by local Italian-American organizations.” 

“This was certainly a collaborative effort,” said Sergi, “And the Canton Public Schools should be proud of the team that helped pull this all together, namely: Heidi Ohlson (World Language Department Coordinator), Head Teacher Marisa Noe, Pirandello Lyceum Scholar Fran Burnes, Sarah Shannon( Assistant Superintendent), Jeffrey Sperling( Principal), Deborah Rooney (Director of Curriculum), School Committee Members Kristen Merenda and Kendaly O’Halloran and CIAO Board Member Paul Niosi.

According to Dr. Amara, the first cohort will move through four years of Italian Language study with emphasis being on Italian language fluency. This will be achieved, he said, by immersing students in active speaking as well as the more traditional methods. It will be supported, he said, with ancillary activities with a goal of a major “capstone” activity as students complete their studies.

Dr. Amara said that he hoped the program would serve as a model for other schools who wish to organize innovative Italian Language programs. He said that CIAO has already made overtures to area colleges to consider Italian Language Summer Total Immersion programs. 

According to Dr. Sergi, CIAO would be a conduit for funding and ideas to support and promote the Italian Language projects. It has already begun, he said, collecting a library of Italian books and is planning a basic Italian Language program for adults.  

A delegation of school officials, legislators, educators and local supporters recently visited the classes at the school. The students have elected to study Italian for during their four years at the school with a goal of becoming fluent in the language and knowledgeable about Italian culture. 

 “We’ve created a Foundation that cements our long term commitment to the Canton Public Schools”, said Sergi.  “ We have a Board whose goal is to help provide the Canton Schools the tools for success.”

 Amara said he was grateful for the support of the Italian Committee that advocated for the project, particularly members of Centro Attivita Scholastiche Italiane : Chairman Alberto Mustone, President Adelaide Guarracino and Past President Maria Motta. 

According to Dr. Sergi, the CIAO Foundation would be a conduit for funding and ideas to support and promote the Italian Language projects. It has already begun, he said, collecting a library of Italian books and is planning a basic Italian Language program for adults. “We have created a group. that cements our long term commitment to the Canton Public Schools”, said Sergi. “ We have a Board whose goal is to help provide the Canton Schools the tools for success. 

The members of the CIAO Board are listed as: Paul Sergi – MD, Michael A Sergi -MD, Anthony DiSchiullo -MD; Paul Niosi –  DDS; Domenic Amara – PhD; Robert Consalvo – PhD.