Fight to save A.P. Italian

November 25, 2008 5:55:14 PM PST
Italian is popular among students at Murrow High School. "They see the value and how many contributions the Italian culture has made to western life, and for that, they just have this desire to know more," Angela Gramegna said. She is the language department administrator at the school.

As with all advanced placement courses, the A.P. Italian class means college credit.

"The teacher is very nice and the class itself -- you learn so much about the culture, about the food, about the language itself. It's great," Chelsea Melo said.

But the class in jeopardy. The College Board, which provides funding for Advanced Placement classes, is considering the elimination of Italian and several other classes, due to what the board feels is a lack of demand. But the Italian classes now have the support of groups that want to see the instruction continue.

"We have the full collaboration and support of the Republic of Italy as well as many American partners, some of which are of Italian heritage, some are not. Just people who really appreciate the Italian language and culture," said Margaret Cuomo, who is president of the Italian Language Foundation.

The foundation raises money to keep A.P. Italian available.

"It's just an overall great class to have around and I'm hoping the College Board won't close it," Claudia Oddo said.

The students are expected to become fluent in Italian, which will help John Dixon with his new Italian in-laws.

"Every Sunday when we eat, it's a lot of Italian this, Italian that throwing all over the table, and I'm lost. That's one of the reasons why I like the Italian class," he said.

The College Board says it will make a decision about the course by early next month.

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