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The “Olympic Games” for Students of Italian in America

More than 100 students of Italian awarded nationally

The American Association of Teachers of Italian (AATI) just released the results of the 2017 National Italian Exam, the annual contest sponsored by the organization, to recognize student achievement and to promote language proficiency

The 2017 National Italian Exam, a national contest of Italian language and culture for middle school and high school students, organized by the American Association of teachers of Italian (AATI), was recently concluded.

From California to Massachusetts to Puerto Rico, 5,465 students representing 16 states participated in the contest. The exam was administered online on the Quia platform during the month of March (to accommodate different programs and calendars of the teachers) and the winners were announced on April 30. Ninety-eight students were awarded over $15,000 in prizes. Lucrezia Lindia, president of the Italian Honor Society, contributed an additional $1,200 and her committee selected 24 students for Honorable Mention awards.

“The National Italian Exam reminds us of the deep interest of students and teachers to  study and advance Italian language and culture – Salvatore Bancheri, AATI president tells us – Students across the board performed extremely well on this year’s exam; a clear indication of the commitment and competence of teachers of Italian.”

Michael Hermanns, senior at Elwood-John H. Glenn High School

There were 11 first place winners for the various levels from different states and schools:Ivan Andrade (NY), Jake Arlia (NY), Matteo Broccolo (CT), Claudia Cobani (MA), Alexander DeMartino (NJ), Parker DiPaolo (VA), Michelle Ferrari (FL), Anna Jorgensen (TX), Michael Hermanns (NY), Greis Kasofo (MA), and Danya Poles (FL).

In addition to the $500 first prize, seven of the first place winners were awarded scholarships for study abroad with the following language schools and AATI members:  Alessandro Adorno, director of Babilonia – Centro Studi Italiani, Taormina; Cristiana Panicco, director of Sant’Anna Institute— Sorrento Lingua, Sorrento; Francesca Romana Memoli, director of Accademia Italiana, Salerno; and Lara Avvenente, director of A Door to Italy, Genova.

The amount of the scholarship covers the cost of the course, tuition and accommodations for the students on the school’s grounds. Travel costs are the responsibility of scholarship recipients, however, the AATI subsidized an additional $500 for travel expenses.

The generosity of these language schools and the AATI extends also to two teachers of the top students: Susan Hefty della Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies in Virginia, and Elena Ferriolo of Elwood-John H. Glenn High School in New York state.

Student winners of Bellairie High School in Texas

Looking south, Bellaire High School (outside of Houston, Texas) had six winners. “The National Italian Exam and the AATI have contributed to the growth of our Italian program and for this I am very grateful to the organizers. It’s incredible to see how the students are motivated to compete nationally – states teacher of Italian, Maria Gloria Borsa – Students who win feel they have been officially recognized, but it is always great to hear students who don’t win ask if the exam is also available at the next level, so that they can work harder and have another chance. My students know that the winners are very good, but those who don’t win aren’t losers, they have met foes worthy of competition. In my classes, I believe I teach not only Italian but how to overcome one’s limits and to believe in one’s own potential.”

Elwood-John H. Glenn High School students

New York state also is home to many winners so we talked to Italian teacher Elean Ferriolo. “The AATI National Italian Exam is a great way for our students at John Glenn High School in East Northport, NY to assess their abilities in the Italian language and their knowledge about Italian culture. We are very proud of our students.” The winners at this school are Michael Hermanns (1st place level 5A), Ivan Andrade (1st place level 3A), Makenzy Chaikin (2nd place level 3A) and Samantha Rivera (3rd place level 3A), placing at the top of their respective levels.  This year over 80 students took the exam and out of those 80 students, 34 received an honorable mention. She concludes: “We are very grateful that AATI honors the accomplishments of the students by being so generous to them. This year, two of our John Glenn students will have the opportunity to study in Italy on a full scholarship thanks to AATI and the boys ability to perform so successfully. Michael and Ivan will be able to bring back memories, language and culture which they will be able to share in our classrooms. After all, communication and the exchange of cultures is what learning a language is all about.”

The AATI hopes to be able to increase the number of students who participate int eh National Italian Exam as well as to increase the number of prizes and scholarships for study in Italy. The next exam will take place in March 2018.

Dear teachers, mark the date and visit the AATI website for further information.

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