By Nick LoParrino
On Thursday, March 14th, the Italian
Club and Niccolo Machiavelli Chapter of the National Italian Honor Society
hosted the twenty-ninth annual Festa Italiana at Eastchester High School. The
event, which translates to “Italian Party” is essentially just that, as
students and faculty from all grade levels are able to attend and celebrate the
Students taking Italian classes
begin to filter into the auditorium at 6:00 to 6:15 PM in order to sit with
their respective classes and anxiously engage in last minute preparations for
the performances that the night is centered around. Prior to the event’s
commencement, a slideshow displaying last year’s trip to Italy is played for
all on a projector at the front of the auditorium. Parents and students alike
were able to witness photos from Venice, Florence, Rome and so many more iconic
Italian cities, all of which were visited by the current seniors who went on
the trip last year. Mrs. Lindia recognized Mr. Lindia, Ms. Marcoccia, and Mrs.
Bianco for all the help and time that they put into the event.
At 6:30 PM the event finally begins
with a cordial welcome delivered by the officers of both the Italian Club and
the Italian National Honor Society. President of the Italian Club, Toni
Cristiano, and President of the Italian National Honor Society, Julia Risi,
each gave a warm introductory speech to share their excitement for the night
and inform the audience of what was in store. Before performances began, two
guests of honor were invited to share a few remarks on the night and explain
the importance of cherishing the Italian culture. The first speaker was Dr.
Annavaleria Guazzieri, a member of the Italian Consulate in New York City, who
helps to provide service to over 90,000 Italian nationals living in New York,
Connecticut, and some parts of New Jersey. The next speaker was Mr. Vito
Catania, who is a long-time resident of Eastchester and is president of both the Giuseppe Garibaldi Lodge
and the Columbus Day Committee of Eastchester-Tuckahoe. Each speaker adamantly
expressed their deepest regards for the Italian program at Eastchester High
School and imparted several meaningful messages upon the students in
attendance: one of the most important being to treasure and preserve the
Italian culture. Both guests of honor were awarded a plaque to commemorate
their efforts in the Italian-American community, and finally the evening’s
performances were finally ready to begin.
As is the custom every year, the freshman class opens up the night with a rendition of the Italian national anthem which then allows the night to segue into the skits prepared by the sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Ranging from Dante’s Divine Comedy to a reenactment of the annual Italian trip, each skit provided the audience with an incredible blend of comedy and culture. Each class, besides the freshman classes, prepares its own skit to perform and prior to Italian Night, students receive individual parts and memorize their lines to perfect their finished product for the night of the show. As a senior, this year my class decided to venture a bit outside of the box and ended up performing an Italian translation of the widely popular American movie, Mean Girls. Personally, having the opportunity to reenact an iconic American movie in Italian was not only extremely fun, but it also helped me learn a lot about the language, as I was able to parallel the English and Italian pieces of the movie. Senior Giuliana Fogliano admits that “Italian night has always been something I looked forward to each year and it’s difficult and sad to believe that it was my last one. However, getting to play Regina was the perfect way to end it.” Following the performances, all attendees are invited to wrap the night up the best way an Italian knows how: to eat! Freshly-prepared antipasto, delicious home-cooked Italian meals, and a variety of customary Italian desserts were all on display in the high school cafeteria. Students, parents, and faculty all conversed and capped the night off with an amazing array of food and lots of laughter. Honorable Frederick Salanitro and Mr. Paul Resiman kindly brought the leftover food to the Franciscan Sisters Soup Kitchen in Harlem.
Albeit a night for celebration and
learning, this particular Festa Italiana was especially bittersweet, as it was
the last one of Mrs. Lindia’s teaching career. Revered throughout the
Eastchester community as a phenomenal Italian teacher and an even better role
model, Mrs. Lindia’s efforts in Eastchester High School allowed have hundreds
of students to flourish in the Italian language and are appreciated by
students, parents, faculty, and anybody who is lucky enough to know her or have
learned from her. Thank you to Mrs. Lindia for hosting this amazing event each
and every year, as it allows much of the Eastchester community to come together
and celebrate the storied Italian heritage!