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June 17, 2011     Post-Gazette
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June 17, 2011

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Page 8 POST-GAZETTE, JUNE 17, 2011 St. Anthony Procession in the North End The PLIDA Challenge, A Year Later by Carmen Merolla, PLIDA Language Coordinator and Instructor L-R: Jennifer Luoma, Carmen Merolla, Rita Fuerst Adams, Lino Rullo, Brooke Chamberlain Cook, Cynthia Oldham and Maureen Coleman. Despite rainy weather, a large crowd of St. Anthony supporters participated in the celebration of St. Anthony on Sunday June 12, 2011 (official date is June lath). A procession was held as devotees followed the statue through the streets of the North End. Be sure to attend St. Anthony's Feast to be held August 26-28 in the North End. Ricky Scimeca of the North End - He is shipping out to Afghanistan as part of his National Guard Deployment on Tuesday Antonietta DeStefano and with Caffe Paradiso Employee AUessia. (Photos by Rosario Scabin, Ross Photography) ELIOT SCHOOL Celebrates with a Dinner Dance at the Fairmont On Friday, June 3, over 150 people came together at the Fairmont Battery Wharf to celebrate the Eliot K-8 School. The celebrants, par- ents, grandparents, teach- ers, staff, neighbors, and friends of the Eliot, mingled with friends, met new people, and enjoyed a. delicious meal. "This is one of our three fundraisers during the year and it was very successful. It was great to work with the team at the Fairmont. They were on top of their game and they provided a perfect setting for this wonderful event, said Lynn Bova, Chairperson of the event and parent of Joseph (Grade 3) and Richard (K2). Throughout the evening, there was active bidding on 44 auction items, with the highest bidders walking away with items ranging from stays at 5 star hotels to a baseball signed by Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. Bidding was ac- tive and spirited and everyone was happy to contribute to the Eliot with a chance to win a wonderful auction item. As at every Eliot Dinner, the raffle was a very popular activity. "The business own- ers of the North End and Bos- ton were very generous. We had over 60 raffle items and raised a great deal of money for school pro- grams. We are thankful that businesses responded so en- thusiastically to our re- quest," said Eric Marberblatt, Co-Chairperson of the Eliot Dinner and parent of Jacob (KI). The evening ended with dancing to the tunes of DJ Michael LoPriore. A quick glance at the dance floor told you all you needed to know. There were teachers, par- ents, grandparents, friends, and neighbors dancing to- gether, ending the evening on a high note. Traci Walker Griffith, Eliot Principal, had this to say about the event, "I was happy to see so many people celebrating another wonder- ful year at the Eliot. And I am grateful for the commit- ment of Lynn and Eric and our partnership with the Fairmont Battery Wharf. It was a perfect night." by Messandro Manzoni A theatricatperformance based on the novel of the same name I1161 > 2Oil > > Mus~: 6. Verdi, P. Ma~i,V. Se~ini, N. P~janint; L Berio ~umiw ml.~ ~ Five PLIDA students gathered in the atrium of the Dante Alighieri of Cambridge, looking quite nervous and tense. They are the first students to take the PLIDA exam at the Dante Alighieri of Cambridge. But. beyond the nerves, there's a sense of excitement. In a few weeks, they will receive their PLIDA certification for the beginner level, also known as A1. The PLIDA certificate officially demonstrates competence in Italian at a specific level for work and school and is recognized by the Italian Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Education, and Employment and Welfare. Knowing that our students are soon going to be PLIDA certified makes us immensely proud. What is PLIDA? PLIDA stands for Progetto Lingua Italiana Dante Alighieri and it was originally created by the Dante Alighieri Society of Rome. PLIDA classes and certificates are now offered and recognized all over the world. The PLIDA project follows the guidelines of the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages; Strasbourg, 2001) and it arranges certifications according to a scale of six different levels corresponding to six learning phases. Levels advance from A1 to C2 in order of difficulty and correspond to the levels established by CEFR. Student Response Has Been Overwhelmingly Positive As one of the four centers in North America certified to offer PLIDA certification, the Dante Alighieri Society of Mas- sachusetts introduced PLIDA classes for the first time last September. We started small, offering just three classes. However, the student response has been so positive that we will offer eight classes at four different levels beginning this September. For the first year we've only offered classes that completed level A1 (Beginner), from September 2011 we will also start offering classes for level A2 (Elementary). We are confident that the success of our project will con- tinue growing, allowing us to get to level C2 (Mastery) very soon. Why Students Enjoy PLIDA Classes? Our class experience is special because, following the principles of the communicative approach, studerits get to speak Italian from day one. Every night they practice Italian with question and answer sessions, brainstorming, role- playing, story-building, singing, and more. They also par- ticipate in discovering grammar rules with help from the instructor, becoming an active part of the grammar expla- nation rather than just passive listeners. They listen to Italian music and watch Italian movies, getting acquainted with Italian culture as well. At the end of each trimester students give presentations to the class on a variety of cul- tural or personal topics, even those from the beginner level. Our classes are special because students leave PLIDA classes with real language accomplishments. The Best Italian Instructors PLIDA instructors are carefully selected. They are dedi- cated and experienced professionals, certified to teach Ital- ian through Masters Degrees in Italian or other language teaching certifications. They have years of experience, as well as familiarity with the communicative approach. We prepare every class according to a minute-by-minute sched- ule and set clear objectives for each lesson. We design every class thinking about what students will be able to do with the language by the end of each class and keep these ob- jectives in mind as we teach. Lessons generally begin with Italian culture and establish relevant vocabulary, gram- mar, and functional goals. As a result, PLIDA classes enable students to have fun, get involved, speak consistently and, most importantly, learn in a natural way. Why Students Want the PLIDA Certificate? As the language coordinator of this program, I've experi- enced the biggest joy a teacher can have. I've seen stu- dents progress from knowing no Italian to proudly taking the A1 level exam just two weeks ago. Over the last few months I have asked students why they want the PLIDA certificate. Some do it for family reasons, some do it for a personal challenge, others do it because it'll benefit their careers. No matter what the motivation, I believe that there is one thing that they all have in common: their love and passion for Italy and the Italian language. For this reason, we could not be prouder of having embarked on this PLIDA adventure at the Dante Alighieri in Cambridge. We hope that all of you will be able to come try this new, fun, and effective approach to learning Italian. Carmen MeroUa is the PLIDA Coordinator~Instructor and Lino Rullo is the Chairman of the Education Committee.