At the beginning of each school year, teachers meet and plan activities throughout the academic year. One of the activities planned at the Vicenza High School is the exchange program that has been set and developed in the past decade. One of the annual exchanges is the visit to the Liceo Quadri, an Italian high school that serves as the center for the school services' local district. This year, a group of American students visited the Italian school Feb. 5.
"We recently signed an agreement regarding our teachers exchange program. Some of our VHS teachers and 35 Italian teachers from all local high schools work together on a professional development plan divided by department areas," said Michela Ambruoso, VHS Italian teacher who coordinated the event with Liceo Quadri English teacher Elena Ruffatto. After arriving at the school, two Italian teachers, Monica Manfredotti and Emanuela Nosiglia coordinated the activities respectively in their classes.
"Our students welcomed the American students and introduced them to some recreational activities and sports available in Vicenza," said Manfredotti.
They also had the opportunity to attend specific classes and join the Italian students for a lesson in English in the planetarium. Some of the American visitors were already familiar with the school from a previous visit.
"The school was beautiful and all of the people were very nice to us," said VHS senior Mia Dilmar, who also visited the Italian school last year.
"I had fun because I got to experience how they went throughout their day at school," she said.
Dilmar is also one of the twelve members of VHS musical program Rhythm and Blues Band directed by Gary Marvel, VHS music director. After setting up the equipment and warming up in the Aula Magna, the school auditorium, the R&B, six musicians and six vocalists, were ready to perform for the mixed crowd of students gathered in the auditorium for show time.
The concert was part of the exchange program for the second year in a row.
"The crowd was great," said Marvel after the 55-minute show, which included several musical genres and songs such as "Moves Like Jagger", "My Girl" and "My Heart Will Go On".
First-year (corresponding to ninth-grade) Liceo Quadri student Sofia Capuzzo especially enjoyed this song.
"I liked the performance of the girl who presented My Heart Will Go On; she was in tune and the piece is very difficult to sing.
"I was also glad to provide information about Vicenza and our school to people who don't know the city that well so they will have the opportunity to know better this area," she said.
This year, students from both schools were really into the music and the performance, said VHS senior Erika Maldonado-Rosado.
"I would love to do the show over and over again. Right after our show the crowd came to us and asked for photos and when we were going to be back. Sadly, being a senior, I will not be back to them. I enjoyed it nonetheless," said Maldonado-Rosado.
As she mentioned, the Quadri students stopped to make new friends after the show.
"The concert was awesome and my friends and I thought that all the musicians were talented and made a great performance," said first-year Quadri student Matteo Battaglia. "I am looking forward to attending another beautiful concert like this."
While expressing interest and participation in the concert, Laura De Grandi, another Liceo Quadri student, said, "I think these days are really important for both American and Italian students.
"Not only can we improve our language skills, but we also have the opportunity to get in contact with a different culture and make new friends. As we live in the same city, it is fundamental to build a good relationship, especially between young people," she said.
As for past school exchanges, communicating to each other has been very important.
"I firmly believe in intercultural exchanges. They are extremely beneficial for the kids. Students like getting to know each other and doing 'things' together because they like the interaction," said Ambruoso after the shared meal prepared by the Italian students' parents.
The Liceo Quadri students are now planning to reciprocate with a visit to VHS March 19.
"It is always important to see how different people, with different languages and culture can mix together and enjoy new experiences all together," said Alessandro Lupi, (equivalent of 11th-grader) of Liceo Quadri.