Norridge high school celebrates Italian culture
Daniella Macrito addresses those gathered at Ridgewood High School's second Festa Italiana, a celebration of all things Italian. | Provided
Updated: January 21, 2013 2:44PM
NORRIDGE — Italy came to Norridge when Ridgewood High School hosted its second Festa Italiana.
The celebration allowed students taking Italian language classes to share what they have learned, said teacher Delores Miller.
“We teach about Italian culture and art along with language,” Miller said. “The idea (of the festival) is that the students become the teachers, the ambassadors.”
Guests at the Dec. 5 event were treated to a glimpse of Italy through food, dance and art.
“We had multiple generations of families attending,” said Giovana Portanova, who also teaches Italian at the Norridge school. “We even had a couple of grandparents who were visiting from Italy.”
Also attending were families from Elmwood Park and Oak Park, she added.
Senior Daniella Macrito of Norridge has taken the class all four years.
“I wanted to learn more,” she said.
“I just love it,” she added. “It’s my favorite class.”
Junior Alex Hanns of Harwood Heights started taking Italian language classes while attending Union Ridge Elementary School.
“I’m half Sicilian,” he said. “Last year during spring break I went with my family to Sicily.
“I could kind of understand what they were saying. It was a really cool experience.”
He now is looking forward to going to Italy as part of the annual spring break class trip,
Michael Jorgensen of Harwood Heights also is looking forward to going to Italy.
The third-year student said he has continued to take the class because he enjoys it.
“It really is a lot of fun,” he said.
Fellow third-year student Alec Budnik of Norridge said he initially took the class because of family roots, but found there were other benefits, as well.
“It’s nice to know a second language,” he said. “And the teachers are great.”
Macrito, Hanns and Jorgensen echoed that sentiment.
Miller and Portanova returned the compliment.
“We have the best kids,” Portanova said. “They’re the ones who set up everything for Festa Italiana.”
“They know how to take charge,” Miller added.