The “Olympic Games” for Students of Italian in America


by Enza Antenos


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.


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