Community Life

Plainfields' UNICO Participates in Student Exchange with Italian High School

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Displaying their gifts South Plainfield High School students Kelly Lizano and Jillian Bengivenga with UNICO Membership Director Anthony Bengivenga and Italian High School Director Rosarita Rota. Credits: Courtesy of Unico
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Participants, sponsors and organizers of the student exchange at the Liceo Betty Ambiveri Scuola Superiore in Presezzo Italy Credits: Courtesy of Unico
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Two students from the South Plainfield High School Italian Language Class were recently sponsored by Plainfield's UNICO & the Gian Maria Mazzola Foundation of Italy to attend the Liceo Betty Ambiveri (High School) in Presezzo, Italy from May 26 to June 3, 2018.  Gian Maria Mazzola was a member of a runners club from Italy who ran in several NY Marathons and his club was hosted in South Plainfield by Plainfields' UNICO as part of a cultural exchange 9 years ago. Mr Mazzola died of cancer several years ago and a foundation was started in his memory with the goal of establishing a cultural exchange with students of Italy & students of South Plainfield. This the first year of the exchange was organized by UNICO National Membership & Retention Director Anthony Bengivenga and Plainfields' UNICO President Robert Bengivenga.   Kelly Lizano and Jillian Bengivenga, students of Italian Language teacher Dana Valencia's  Language Class at South Plainfield High School were selected for this program and were hosted by families of students of the Liceo Betty Ambiveri High School in Italy.  They attended daily classes with their host students and for a full 10 days they were immersed in Italian language and culture.  During free time the school sponsored an escorted day trip to historic walled city of Bergamo and also full day in Milan.  At the end of the program the Director of the Italian high school presented each with a gift which was a boxed book set about historic Bergamo, Italy.  Everyone involved praised Jillian and Kelly for the great improvement in their Italian language skills. All parties have agreed to continue this program next year with exchanges involving host families both in Italy and in South Plainfield as well.  For this first year of the exchange program, UNICO Membership & Retention Director Anthony Bengivenga (also representing the Gian Maria Mazzola foundation)  accompanied the students and helped organize various parts of the program in Italy.  

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