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Sons of Italy® Contributes Funding To Launch Italian Advanced Placement (AP) Program

Press Contact: Kylie Cafiero, (202) 547-2900

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2004 ­ The Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA) has formally presented OSIA's contribution that will help fund a new Advanced Placement (AP) program in Italian. Funding also came from the government of Italy, NIAF and UNICO National. The program starts in the fall of 2005.

The OSIA check presentation ceremony took place Feb.12 at a reception that opened a three-day meeting of the Sons of Italy®'s Board of Directors Feb. 12-14 in Tampa, Florida.

The check was presented to College Board Executive Director Lee Jones by the OSIA leadership, headed by OSIA National President Joseph Sciame.

"This is an historic moment," Jones said. "For the first time in the history of the College Board's AP program, a foreign government and American organizations contributed the funds to launch a new AP program."

The prestigious AP program allows gifted students to study college-level courses while still in high school. "It places Italian on the same level as such other commonly taught foreign languages as French, German and Spanish," says Sciame.

The College Board unanimously approved the Italian Language Course for its Advanced Placement (AP) Program portfolio in 2003. The decision came after several years of negotiations led by OSIA, the American Association of Teachers of Italian, NIAF, UNICO National and the Italian government. Prime movers were Matilda Cuomo and her daughter, Margaret Cuomo-Maier, M.D.

The foreign languages currently offered by the AP program are French, German, Latin and Spanish. A 2003 report from OSIA, using data from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages revealed that Italian is the fastest growing European foreign language in U.S. high schools. (See at Studies in Culture for full report.)

OSIA is the largest and oldest national organization in the U.S. for men and women of Italian heritage. Founded in 1905, today it a network of more than 700 chapters coast to coast.