Celebrazione Italiana honors students, local clubs
As always, it was a great night to be an Italian (or a non-Italian celebrant) during the recent Celebrazione Italiana. The University of Wisconsin-Parkside's 8th annual homage to the region's Italian heritage was a bella notte in the red and green bedecked ballroom.
The celebration benefits UW-Parkside's student and faculty exchange program with the Universita della Calabria in southern Italy. It also gave UW-Parkside the opportunity to celebrate its exchange students and to honor three outstanding organizations serving the region.
The evening's emcee, Dr. Carmel Ruffolo, introduced student Valeria Pugliese who was in attendance as well as a farewell video by departing students Claudia Marigliano and Francesca Franzese. This year's exchange also brought Daniela Pisano, Fabiola Mantalto, Stefenia Nicoletti, and Luigino Ianni to campus.
The guests of honor for the evening were three Italian groups: the Calabresi in America Organization (CIAO) of Stone Park, Ill., Kenosha's Italian-American Club, and the Roma Lodge of Racine. Each were celebrated for working to preserve the traditions and cultures of Italy among its members and in the community.
CIAO President Frank DeCicco told Kenosha News reporter Bill Guida that backing UW-Parkside's exchange program fits the organization's goals. "We're proud to support this program. Without education and schooling on the academic side, we wouldn't be true to our traditions," DeCicco stated.
Calling the award he received on behalf of the Roma Lodge a "very high honor," President Buddy Alfano told Guida, "If you're going to do something for a pat on the back, that's not what it's about. But, personally for me, it's an honor to be accepting this award for the members of the Roma Lodge," he said.
Italian-American Club President Steve Torcaso dedicated his organization's award to past generations who made educating their children a priority. He also reiterated the IA Club's support for the exchange.
"[I]t's important to have events like this because without it there's no money in the budget to support the program," Torcaso told Guida.Past Celebrazione Italiana honorees in attendance were also thanked by Dr. Ruffolo as were the evening's sponsors CNH-America, Turano Baking Company, and Palmen Motors. The festivities were held in the University Ballroom of the UW-Parkside Student Center.