By Jessica Easthope
A high school and elementary school in the Diocese of Brooklyn are collaborating to bring a fine arts program to students for free.
When the bell rings each day, teachers from St. John’s Preparatory School in Astoria, Queens put on a different hat – as elementary school teachers.
They head to Immaculate Conception Catholic Academy for a fine arts after school program offering science, arts, dance, music and language classes every day of the week.
The weekly Italian class has students from kindergarten to fifth grade all learning the romance language with the help of Simona Rodano, known to the kids as the Italian fairy and the coordinator of the program. The kids learn songs, do in-class work, exercises and experience the program which is funded by the Diocese of Brooklyn.
“They are the future and bringing the arts and these kind of enrichment programs is tremendously important, especially at this time,” said Simon.
“It’s fun because she’s a fairy,” said second grader Sara Zuardi. “I like talking Italian, especially because I’m going in a week.”
“This is a feather in our cap in the community,” said Principal Brother Joseph Rocco. “We are now better off than some of the schools in the public sector which cannot offer these programs.”
At the end of the year Italian students will perform a play to show off their new skills. Out of Immaculate Conception’s 140 students, more than 100 have signed up for after school programs.