2003-10-17 / Columnists

Chatting with Chapey

Cuomo Began AP Italian Courses
by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader
Chatting with Chapey

Dr. Geraldine ChapeyDr. Geraldine Chapey

by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader

Cuomo Began AP Italian Courses

During the month of October we have the opportunity to celebrate Italian Heritage and Culture month.  Numerous cultural, literary, historic and educational events are planned to observe and appreciate the contributions of the Italians.

The Italian Consulate held a special reception and press conference to which my mother and I were invited, announcing the establishment and development of the new Advanced Placement course in Italian language and culture. Matilda Raffa Cuomo spearheaded the national committee, which accomplished this. The College Board has approved an Italian language course and exam to be added to the Advanced Placement (AP) Program effective for the Fall, 2005. The first course will be offered in the Fall, 2005 and the first examination in the Spring, 2006. High School students who take these Italian language courses and exams will receive college credit. In preparation for College Board approval Matilda Cuomo and her committee had to acquire 500 high schools in the United States to teach the Italian language and to raise $500,000.  Four groups worked together: the American Association of Teachers of Italian (AATI), the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), the Order of the Sons of Italy in America (OSIA) and UNICO National.  Matilda Cuomo stated that the national network worked together successfully and in conjunction with her wonderful daughter Dr. Madeline Cuomo Maier, MD to achieve their goal.

Matilda Cuomo is to be complimented and applauded for her unflinching drive, contagious enthusiasm and superlative accomplishments. She is an outstanding, vivacious, energetic and capable woman. Matilda was the wind beneath the wings of this wonderful accomplishment. My mother, Dr. Geraldine Chapey as a member of the NYS Board of Regents and I worked with Matilda and the other members of the committee. Education has always been a passion with Matilda. She has accomplished great things which have dramatically influenced the lives of our young people through the Mentoring USA Program which she founded and continues to lead.  Children have been given the opportunity to be paired with an adult who helps them with school work. There were many dignitaries at the Italian Consulate including: Antonio Bandini, the Consul General of Italy in New York; Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister of Italy; Congressman Frank Guarini, the Chairman of the National Italian American Foundation: Joseph Sciame, the National President of the Order of the Sons of Italy in America; John Alati, the National President of UNICO National Inc. and Pier Raimondo Balfini, the President Elect of the America Association of Teachers of Italian.

Congressman Frank Guarini, the President of the Italian American Foundation stated "Italy and America have many things in common. America is a nation of immigrants. In a pluralistic society we are all minorities. Our immigrant ancestors came to America without knowing the English language. In seeking opportunities they worked hard to become an integral part of their new world. They practiced English in order to integrate themselves into the new environment and consequently spoke less Italian at home. However, now new generations of Italian Americans are anxious to go back to their roots.

Language opens the doors to its culture.  Adventures in art, music, literature, science, fashion and architecture are developed from it.  In today’s world we can also explore opportunities in business, trade, commerce and government.

Matilda Cuomo’s daughter Dr. Madeline Cuomo Maier M.D. was inspired by her work on the A P Italian course and has continued to promote the Italian language in the U. S. through the founding of "Lago del Busco" - a two week Italian immersion course which began this summer at the Concordia College Language Villages in Minnesota.   One hundred and fifty Students participated.

Congratulations to First Lady Matilda Raffa Cuomo for working to promote the Italian culture and heritage.  The advanced A P course brings students the opportunity to open many doors. Matilda Cuomo has a sincere appreciation for the culture and ethnic heritage of all Americans.

Italian is now on an equal par with Spanish, French and German for getting A P credit. The development of the A.P. Italian Language and Culture is part of a continuing commitment on the part of the College Board to expand multiculturalism and multilingualism in the high schools.  They are planning to consider new A P courses in Chinese, Japanese and Russian.  They are also evaluating supporting A P courses in history and ethnic or cultural studies in areas such as African American History, Latino Studies and Asian Studies.

Please join us on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 at the Regular Democratic Club of the Rockaways at 104-02 Rockaway Beach Blvd. at 8:15 PM to hear our guest speaker Councilman Joseph Addabbo.

Please reserve Thursday, April 29, 2004 to attend the Trinity Senior Services lunch at 12 Noon at Russo’s on the Bay. Tickets are $40.00.

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