A heart-warming story - from Il Circolo

Jul 01, 2014 2382

The mission of Il Circolo, the Italian Cultural Society of the Palm Beaches, is to preserve and promote Italian Culture.

Although its members and the supporting community have contributed to accomplishing its mission for thirty-eight years, it is only through attracting young people that it will continue to achieve its goal. In the past year, the society has been very successful in this regard.

More than $36,000 was donated to local programs and students exploring Italian language, arts, music, culinary techniques, history etc.. The extensive evidence of continued influences of Italian culture in today's community is a testament to its everlasting character, but its perpetuation will depend on our dedicated, passionate youth.

This story swells the hearts of Il Circolo members and friends. One of the programs supported by Il Circolo is Lake Worth High School. Clint Postiglione was a student in Carole Cordaro's Italian class during the years 2004-2008 who demonstrated special talent in her class. However, Clint had to endure very difficult family problems which concerned his teacher. With the help of Il Circolo, Clint was able to complete his studies and pursue his dreams. Following is an e mail I received after contacting him in Italy.

Sally Valenti

Dear Mrs. Valenti,
It is great to hear from you! I apologize for not responding sooner; I've been working long hours these last few weeks. A lot has changed in my life since those precious high school years. Looking back, I can honestly say that I am where I am today thanks to Carol Cordaro, the Italian program at Lake Worth High and Il Circolo, which sponsored our Italian program and Italian Club during those years. These experiences in high school, as simple as they may have seemed at the time, played a vital role in my becoming the person who I am today.

I was raised by my maternal grandfather, Renato V. Postiglione, a first generation Italian-American. He instilled in me virtues from a different era. I was always proud of my Italian heritage and curious to learn about this faraway land that my family came from. I never imagined that one day I would return to Italy in search of the same dreams that my family sought in America almost a century ago.

After graduating from Lake Worth High, I made my first trip to Italy in the summer of 2008. After a few weeks in Rome, Naples and Sorrento, I returned to the United States with a strong desire to perfect my Italian and eventually return to Italy. After working full-time and studying, I graduated from Palm Beach State College and was accepted into the Florida State University as an Italian/Business major. In that period, I obtained Italian citizenship and even did an independent internship in Molise, translating historic documents and assisting with genealogical research.

While studying at FSU, I received the opportunity to participate in an exchange program with the University of Pavia (Università degli Studi di Pavia). It was a life-changing experience for me. I met people from all over the world got to experience life in Italy as a student. Towards the end of the semester, however, my grandfather, Renato, got very sick and I quickly returned to Florida to be there for him. Losing my grandfather was a huge blow for me, and in the end I needed a fresh start. I decided to leave FSU and enroll in the University of Pavia. Italy gave me the opportunity to have a new beginning and allowed me to pursue my studies and career. There are still some very challenging moments, but the satisfaction of overcoming these obstacles keeps me motivated and moving forward.

I am currently pursuing a degree in Political Science and International Relations (Scienze politiche e delle relazioni internazionali) but am also working full-time to help develop a business that I envisioned over a year ago. This business will hopefully help Italian "artigiani" reach new customers by sharing the passion and tradition of "Made in Italy" with people around the world.

Thank you for your continued support and I hope to remain in touch with you and Il Circolo in the future! Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

Recently, he wrote:

I've attached a recent picture. I am involved in Itly.com., accompany which hopes to promote and help sustain the Italian artisan tradition by using an e-commerce platform directed towards the American market. I recently liked the il Circolo page on Facebook and enjoy reading the posts. Let me know if I can provide you with any additional information. Also, I would really love to have a copy of your newsletter. If possible, could you to send me a copy electronically or by post?

Of course, the current copy and several past issues have been sent to him. Il Circolo has a valuable ambassador in Italy!

The above story gratifies the efforts of our dedicated members and continuing in the pursuit of achieving its mission, this years recipients of Il Circolo funding were Pope John Paul II High School, St. Andrew School, Palm Beach Opera, Symphony of the Americas and Florida Atlantic University's Language and Music Departments.

FAU students who are presently studying in Italy, made possible by Il Circolo's support, will share their experiences at a special program held on November 16, 2014 at Ben Venuto's in Boynton Beach. For more information, visit website www.ilcircolopalmbeach.org.

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