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Leonard Covello

(1887-1982) was the first Italian American high school principal in New York City (Benjamin Franklin High School in East Harlem 1934-56). A pioneer in bilingual education, Covello believed a school should serve the interests of its neighborhood. He was also a co-founder of the American Italian Historical Association in 1966. Covello was born in the town of Avigliano in the Basilicata region of Southern Italy on November 26, 1887. In 1890 his father, Pietro Covello, emigrated to New York City. Leonard, his mother and his two brothers, joined his father in the East Harlem section of the city in 1896.

While in high school, Covello won a scholarship which enabled him to attend Columbia University and he graduated in 1911. In 1913 he took a job as a teacher of French in DeWitt Clinton High School. With the entrance of the United States into World War I in 1917, Covello enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army Artillery Corps. He went to France as an interpreter and became a member of the Corps of Intelligence Police. In 1920 Covello returned to his former position at DeWitt Clinton and served as head of the school’s Italian Department from 1922 to 1926.

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Benjamin Franklin High School

In 1926 he was appointed First Assistant in Modern Languages, a post he held until 1934. While at DeWitt Clinton, Covello realized that Italian American children were confronted by a dilemma in the public schools. They were expected to separate themselves from their native culture and language, in order to meet the school’s expectations and to achieve academically. Covello sought means to ease the transition of immigrant school children into American life and to aid in their acculturation without separating them from their community.

In 1914 he established Il Circolo Italiano at DeWitt Clinton. This club combined social service, recreational and cultural activities and its members worked within the Italian immigrant community. He also began a campaign to establish Italian on an equal footing with other foreign languages taught in New York City schools, a campaign which culminated in his appointment as head of the newly established Italian Department at DeWitt Clinton in 1922. In that same year, Covello established the Italian Parents Association at the school.

Covello’s work extended beyond DeWitt Clinton to include the city’s school system and its Italian community as a whole. He was a major force in the Italian Teachers Association and in 1931 founded the Casa Italiana Educational Bureau, which disseminated information on Italian culture. He was associated with most of the Italian organizations in the city, such as the Italy-America Society and Order of Sons of Italy. Through them he tried to ease the transition of the immigrant and to spread pride and knowledge of Italian culture.

During his years at DeWitt Clinton, Covello became increasingly aware of the need for a high school in East Harlem. From 1931 until 1934 he led a campaign to create such a high school and in 1934 his work was rewarded with the establishment of Benjamin Franklin High School. Covello was appointed principal of the school. As East Harlem began to experience an influx of Puerto Rican immigrants during the 1940s and 1950s, Covello implemented programs for Puerto Rican students at Franklin similar to those which had proven successful among Italian immigrants. In 1956 Covello retired as principal of Franklin High School and accepted an appointment as Education Consultant to the Migration Division of the Puerto Rican Department of Labor. His work with the Migration Division included language and literacy campaigns, citizenship programs, work with Puerto Rican organizations, conferences and workshops on Puerto Rican problems and a general effort to raise awareness and pride in Puerto Rican history and culture.

Pasta with Italian Bacon 

Servings 4 Ingredients

  • 1 lb short pasta
  • 5 oz guanciale or pancetta or bacon
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Paprika
  • Parsley, chopped


While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a skillet and cook the guanciale and the cloves of garlic until they are golden; add the wine and allow it to evaporate. Add the cooked pasta, cheese and pepper. Mix well. Garnish with parsley and paprika

Maria Montessori

(1870 -1952) born in Chiaravalle, near Ancona, Italy, Maria was an Italian educator and originator of the educational system that bears her name. The Montessori system is based on the belief in the creative potential of children, their drive to learn and the right of each child to be treated as an individual. After graduating in medicine from the University of Rome in 1896—the first woman in Italy to do so—Montessori was appointed an assistant doctor at the psychiatric clinic of the University of Rome, where she became interested in the educational problems of the mentally disabled children. Between 1899 and 1901 she served as director of the State Orthophrenic School of Rome, where her methods proved extremely successful. From 1896 to 1906 she held a chair in hygiene at a women’s college in Rome and from 1900 to 1907 she lectured in pedagogy at the University of Rome, holding a chair in anthropology from 1904 to 1908. During these years she continued her studies of philosophy, psychology and education.

In 1907 Montessori opened the first, Casa dei Bambini (“Children’s House”), preschool for children ages three to six from the San Lorenzo district of Rome, applying principles now recognized as the Montessori method. Her successes led to the opening of other Montessori schools and for the next 40 years she travelled throughout Europe, India and the United States lecturing, writing and establishing teacher-training programs. In 1922 she was appointed Government Inspector of Schools in Italy, but left the country in 1934 because of the Fascist rule.

Montessori scorned conventional classrooms and she sought, instead, to teach children by supplying concrete materials and organizing situations conducive to learning with these materials. She discovered that certain simple materials aroused in young children an interest and attention not previously thought possible. The materials used were designed specifically to encourage individual rather than cooperative effort. Group activity occurred in connection with shared housekeeping chores.

Tournedos alla Rossini

This recipe from the Ancona (Marche) region and is named for the opera composer, Rossini.


  • 4 thick slices of beef fillet, tied with kitchen string to hold its round shape
  • 4 round slices of bread as thick as the beef fillets
  • 4 slices of patê de fois
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Half cup of Marsala wine.
  • Truffles, optional


Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet and fry the slices of bread. Put the bread on a serving dish dish.

Cook the beef in the same skillet with 1 tablespoon butter, salt and pepper until medium rare.

Place the beef ‘tournedos’ on top of each slice of bread and keep warm.

Fry the pate slices in the remaining butter and place on top of the beef.

Pour the Marsala wine into the skillet and cook for a few minutes, stirring the browned bits in the pan. Pour a little of the sauce over each ‘tournedos’.

Garnish with truffle slices, if desired.

Angelo Bartlett Giamatti

became the youngest president of Yale University in 1978 and the first president not of Anglo Saxon heritage. As the university’s 19th president, he served until 1986. Giamatti was born in Boston and grew up in South Hadley, Massachusetts, the son of Mary Claybaugh Walton and Valentine John Giamatti. His father was professor and chairman of the Department of Italian Language and Literature at Mount Holyoke College. Giamatti’s paternal grandparents were Italian immigrants, Angelo Giammattei and Maria Lavorgna. His grandfather, Angelo, had emigrated to the United States from Telese, near Naples, Italy, around 1900.

Giamatti attended South Hadley High School, spent his junior year at the Overseas School of Rome and graduated from Phillips Academy in 1956. At Yale University, he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon (Phi chapter) and he graduated magna cum laude in 1960. That same year, he married Toni Marilyn Smith, who taught English for more than 20 years at the Hopkins School in New Haven, Connecticut. Together the couple had three children: Hollywood actors Paul and Marcus and jewelry designer Elena. In the film, Sideways, a photograph of the character, Miles Raymond (portrayed by Giamatti’s son Paul) with his late father is really a picture of Paul and Bart Giamatti.

Giamatti taught briefly at Princeton, but spent most of his academic life at Yale. Giamatti’s scholarly work focused on English Renaissance literature, particularly Edmund Spenser and the relationships between English and Italian Renaissance poets. While president of Yale University he presided over the university during a bitter strike by its clerical and technical workers in 1984-85. He also served on the board of trustees of Mount Holyoke College for many years, participating fully despite his Yale and baseball commitments. Giamatti had a lifelong interest in baseball (he was a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan). In 1978, when he was first rumored to be a candidate for the presidency of Yale, he had deflected questions by observing that “The only thing I ever wanted to be president of was the American League.” He didn’t exactly get his wish, but he became president of baseball’s National League in 1986 and commissioner of baseball in 1989.

During his term as National League president, Giamatti placed an emphasis on the need to improve the environment for the fan in the ballparks. While still serving as National League president, Giamatti suspended Pete Rose for 30 games after Rose shoved umpire, Dave Pallone, on April 30, 1988. Later that year, Giamatti also suspended Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, Jay Howell, who was caught using pine tar during the National League Championship Series. Giamatti, whose tough dealing with Yale’s union, favorably impressed Major League baseball owners and he was unanimously elected to succeed Peter Ueberroth as commissioner of baseball on September 8, 1988. Determined to maintain the integrity of the game, on August 24, 1989, Giamatti prevailed upon Pete Rose to agree voluntarily to remain permanently ineligible to play baseball. Giamatti died of a heart attack only a year after his appointment in September 1989.

Caprese Salad

This salad is from Capri and Campania but this simple dish is made everywhere in Italy from the beginning of spring to the end of summer. Ingredients

Red tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, leaves of fresh basil, salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil.


Core the tomatoes cut each into thick slices and place on a large plate. Slice the mozzarella and arrange the slices alternating between the tomatoes slices. Decorate with the basil leaves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with crostini.

Rosemarie Truglio

is the director of research for Public Television’s award-winning children’s program, “Sesame Street.” She develops the program’s interdisciplinary curriculum and conducts research to enhance the program’s educational and entertainment values. Dr. Truglio is a nationally recognized expert on the effects of television on children and teenagers. In her position as director, she assesses the role of television in the socialization and education of children. This research has been the focus of her career and she has helped to ensure that the creative process always embraces the major curriculum points in a safe, sensitive, responsible and age-appropriate manner.

Dr. Truglio received her Ph.D. in Developmental and Child Psychology from the University of Kansas and her B.A in Psychology from Douglass College, Rutgers University. Dr.Truglio originally had an interest in math and science but she credits Rutgers’ early-childhood education and developmental childhood courses with preparing her for “Sesame Street”. Now, she is counting on the show’s lineup of furry friends to inspire another generation of children.

Dr. Truglio is a widely published expert on child development, whose articles appear in child and developmental psychology journals. A former Assistant Professor of Communication and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, Dr. Truglio also serves on the Advisory Board of the Children’s Digital Media Center, Alliance for a Media Literate America and The Council on Excellence in Children’s Media at Annenberg School of Communication.

Dr.Truglio was born in in 1961 in Hoboken, NJ and her parents, Lucy and Albert Truglio lived their entire life in Hoboken. They were co-founders of Truglio’s Meat Market on Park Avenue established in 1952. Dr. Truglio currently lives in New York with her family.

Swordfish Fillets


  • 1 ¾ lb swordfish, thinly sliced
  • 5 oz plain homemade breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 oz caciocavallo cheese, grated
  • 1 onion, cut into quarters
  • Pepper to taste
  • Parsley, chopped to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • Salt to taste


Gently flatten out swordfish using a meat mallet and cut in half. and then into portion slices.

Season bread crumbs with salt, pepper and chopped parsley.

Mix three quarters of the breadcrumb mixture with capers and grated Caciocavallo cheese, drizzling oil onto it; place spoonfuls of the mixture onto the fish slices.

Roll up the fillets and coat in oil and dip in the remaining breadcrumbs. Thread onto a skewer alternating with pieces of onion.

Grill the skewers, turning once.

Antonio Buonomo

born in Naples in 1932, Buonomo is an Italian composer, solo percussionist and music educator. Antonio Buonomo’s professional experiences include performing as a timpani soloist in various orchestras (such as the “San Carlo” of Naples and “La Fenice” of Venice) and directing one of Europe’s first all-percussion instrument groups. His many compositions and transcripts for percussion instruments have been published and include teaching materials, as well as, music for plays and television documentaries. They have also been performed at musical events, on television and radio programs, as well as, at public concerts.

The fifth of ten children, Antonio began studying music before he even knew how to read or write. At the age of 12 he played the trumpet and drums with his father in the Naples nightclubs in front of an audience of American soldiers from the Allied Forces during the war. His career was built on “coming up through the ranks” and playing just about any musical genre, from popular music to marching bands to jazz and contemporary music.

Buonomo has to be given credit for being the first one in Italy ever to prove that percussion instruments had a life of their own because they contain the triple music root: rhythm, melody and harmony. So, these instruments were not (as many people used to think) just a rhythm section to accompany other instruments or to simulate weather phenomena, such as thunderstorms. He continued his efforts until percussion courses were established inside Italian conservatories. He carried out this initiative by writing ad-hoc compositions and participating in radio and TV programs, as well as, by playing pieces for percussion that had never been performed in Italy during the concerts he conducted.

Having achieved great success among young people through his concerts that were held in schools (from middle schools to universities) and hisrecordings of the first classical, pop and contemporary all-percussion Italian music record. He became much more popular as his artistic commitment grew. Italy’s most influential newspaper, the Corriere della Sera, printed the following in November 1987: “He is a real authority on rhythm as an internationally known percussionist and virtuoso. Antonio Buonomo is a versatile and passionate teacher who has published many works on his favorite subject: pure percussion technique and rhythm perspectives.” In 1983, the Minister of Public Education invited him to be part of the commission that drafted the program for percussion study for percussionists and he was called by the Opera Theatre in Rome to act as assistant conductor and music consultant for the Missa Solemnis pro Jubileo, by Franco Mannino, which had its world premiere at the Colosseum.

Capri Chocolate Cake


  • 5 oz almonds, finely chopped
  • 3 ½ oz butter
  • 3 ½ oz sugar
  • 3 ½ oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons crème de Cacao Liqueur or Strega liqueur
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder


Blend the butter with the sugar until it becomes a creamy and smooth in an electric mixer. Add the eggs and mix well. Then add the almonds, chocolate, baking powder and liqueur. Mix well.

Grease a 9 inch cake pan and line with parchment paper. Pour in the cake batter. Bake in a 350°F oven for 50/55 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and invert the cake onto a serving dish. When cool, dust with powdered sugar.

Linda Lantieri

co-founded “Resolving Conflicts Creatively,” an organization which teaches students how to prevent violence in the classroom in New York City. The private agency, founded in 1985, forms partnerships with public schools to help elementary and high school students learn how to resolve conflicts and develop friendships.

Linda, an Italian-American, has over 40 years of experience in education, as a teacher, assistant principal, director of an alternative middle school in East Harlem and a faculty member of the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Hunter College in New York City. She has served as a consultant to various institutions in the area of death education, including the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the New York City Public Schools, where she trained the first Crisis Response Teams in 1988. She is a Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress from the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. She is the director of The Inner Resilience Program and a founding member of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).

The Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP), founded by Lantieri is a social and emotional learning program that has been implemented at 400 schools in 15 school districts in the U.S., with pilot sites in Brazil and Puerto Rico. Lantieri is coauthor of Waging Peace in Our Schools, editor of Schools with Spirit: Nurturing the Inner Lives of Children and Teachers and a contributor to Forever After: New York City Teachers on 9/11.

Her recipe for making better citizens (with higher academic achievement) is simple: introduce emotional learning in schools through small steps. According to Lantieri, “Children bring their emotions to school, whether we recognize them or not. What we are trying to do is help them express them in appropriate ways, helping learn how they can feel surer of themselves and better deal with their emotions. We do this in two different ways. First, by creating a classroom environment that is truly welcoming, where they feel emotionally safe, they can talk to each other and they can feel that the class really cares about them. The second thing is we teach them skills to be aware and to be able to talk about their feelings. In addition, the research shows that we can work to improve children’s emotional intelligence.

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