J. Taylor Finley Middle School students performed impressively in the 2020 National Italian Exam initiative coordinated by the American Association of Teachers of Italian.
“Finley's Italian students are celebrating their accomplishments,” said Michelle Viani who teaches Italian and English as a new language at Finley. “This annual exam is optional for students. Our seventh and eighth grade Italian students who opted to take the exam showcased their Italian skills and competed for medals with other Italian students across the country.”
Students “sat” for the exam online via Google Meet. The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the Finley teenagers. “All those students who signed up in November still wanted to take it in April during the pandemic,” Ms. Viani said.
The Finley students joined with Ms. Viani on Google Meets last Friday afternoon to celebrate the exam results along with the many award recipients. Students were encouraged to wear Italy’s colors of red, white and green or bring Italian food or drink to the online session.
Judy Moroff, the district’s director of world languages, participated in the online celebration. “They were absolutely adorable as they supported and cheered one another when their names were called during our Google Meet ceremony,” she said. “Congratulations to all of the seventh and eighth grade students. Attending today’s Italian National Exam award celebration reminded me of how resilient our students are and how they excel under any circumstance. I really look forward to the day when we’re all back together and can celebrate in person all of their accomplishments.”
Finley’s National Italian Exam honorees include:
Gold Medal and $50 monetary award (Scored in the 98th national percentile for novice level): Vincenza Garofalo
Silver Medal: (Scored in 80-89th national percentile for novice level): Dominic Mattio, Michael Mendikyan, Ryan Ramirez
Bronze Medal: (Scored 70-79th national percentile for Level I) Brooke Parks
Achievement Award (Scored in 50-69th national percentile for Level 1): Anthony Addeo, Julia Aldas, Damaris Mani-Munoz, Kelly Zelaya
Participatory Award: Adriana Abbatiello, Adian Pepe, Antonio Carusone, Carmine Carusone, Tess Calabria, Sam Soric
“I am so proud of my students’ accomplishments and perseverance for going above and beyond to pursue their Italian language skills, especially during this challenging time,” Ms. Viani said. “They are such rock stars! Congratulations! Auguri!”
Mrs. Viani obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees at Binghamton University and New York University, respectively. She also studied Italian at Queens College and L’Università per Stranieri di Perugia in Italy. She began her classroom career in New York City, teaching and writing Italian curriculum at a small public school in the Bronx for four years. She joined Huntington UFSD's faculty in July 2017. Over the past three years at Finley, she has brought students on cultural field trips to Huntington restaurants, presented at workshops on using technology in the world language classroom and is currently Finley technology mentor.