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AP Italian returns to NYC high school

October 7, 2011 2:33:31 PM PDT
It had been two years since advanced placement Italian was taught at LaGuardia High School.

"I was really drawn to Italian because the language is so passionate; the way it's written, the way it's read, the way it's spoken," Camila Palomino said.

The College Board administers advanced placement courses. It cancelled AP Italian due to cost and low enrollment numbers.

"I think what they missed was the incredible passion that those who study Italian, those who teach Italian feel for their language," Elisabeth Mansfield, assistant principal, said.

LaGuardia is said to have the leading AP Italian program in New York, and in order to make sure classes like this continue to be available to students, Italian American leaders went right to the source of Italian language and culture.

"The view here was that the government of Italy had to support this project," Louis Tallarini said.

Tallarini, of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, was part of a group that traveled to Italy, eventually gaining Italian government support for the classes, then worked with the College Board to restore AP Italian for this school year.

"We were able to raise in excess of 3 million dollars to invest in this program," he said.

The AP students also study Italian culture.

"Especially in the east coast, especially here in New York, the Italian language and the culture has an important place," teacher Mario Costa said.

Italian American leaders plan to preserve AP Italian for the future.

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