A group of 13 high school students from the Abruzzese town of Sulmona recently visited Boston as part of their school’s “La Merica” project. The trip was geared to teach the students the deep ties that still Italy and the Italian heritage communities in the United States. Professors Carolina Lettieri and Caterina Fantauzzi led the group of students from the Giovanbattista Vico High School through their research and accompanied the group on their 7-day trip on the other side of the ocean.
“It was a truly unique and interesting trip for our students,” said school director Caterina Fantauzzi, who helped coordinate the program from Italy. “Before coming to Boston they visited Ellis Island in New York. They felt at home right away, thanks to the hospitality of Donato and Filippo Frattaroli.” On Sunday, March 20, the students had the chance to speak to various Italian Americans during a party organized by Filippo Frattaroli. “This trip has given our school the chance to lay the bases for future cultural exchanges and new teaching opportunities,” said Fantauzzi. Before leaving, the students had a chance to listen and talk to Rosetta Romagnoli, president of the Associazione Abruzzesi di Boston, who was visiting Italy at the time.
Ideally, the teachers would like to collect the students’ stories into a book to be published by the end of the school year. The book would include reports, short stories, pictures and letters collected during their brief stay on the East Coast. The material would be added to a list of emigrants from Sulmona who came to Boston over the past 120 years. “The goal is to get more and more people to know a fundamental piece of our history,” said Professor Carolina Lettieri, who accompanied the students. For the past several years, as the “La Merica” project grew, students have been able to set up two different exhibits in Sulmona’s “Palazzo della Santissima Annunziata.”