Italian language and culture day full room of students University hall 7th floor

Italian Language and Culture Day

In collaboration with ITANJ (the Italian Teachers Association of New Jersey), the Coccia Institute sponsors an annual spring showcase/competition of middle and High school students throughout the state. “Italian Language and Culture Day” features skits (“scenette”) written by the students themselves, and performed exclusively in Italian. These creative performances are enhanced by elaborate costumes, musical accompaniment and scenery designed and constructed by the students. A professional panel of judges selects the trophy recipients, supplemented by trophies awarded by a panel of student judges.

Demonstrating language mastery and fluency, as well as providing an enjoyable opportunity for interaction among students and teachers of Italian, Italian Language and Culture Day is organized by a committee of ITANJ board members and Coccia Institute staff. An exuberant capacity crowd fills the Conference Center of University Hall each spring, amazing all in attendance with the creativity, enthusiasm and language skills of our New Jersey students of Italian (6th through 12th grades)!


Italian Language and Culture Day “L’Amore e’….Love Is….”

March 15, 2018

Italian Language and Culture Day receipients holding their trophies

Grazie e congratulazioni tutti who helped make Italian Language and Culture Day 2018: “L’amore e’….Love Is….”–the annual collaboration between ITANJ and the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America at Montclair State University–such a joyous success! While all the participating students from NJ middle and high schools are winners in my book, the recipients of the trophies for their original skits, performed exclusively in Italian, enhanced by amazing costumes, sets and musical accompaniment are:

Middle School Level:
1st place: Manalapan-Englishtown Middle School
2nd place: Central Middle School
3rd place: Holmdel Middle School

High School Level:
1st place: Red Bank Regional High School
2nd place: Hawthorne High School
3rd place: Frank Cicarell Academy, Elizabeth

Recipients of the Student Choice Awards are:
For Best Costumes and Props:
Holmdel Middle School
Frank Cicarell Academy

For Best Overall Performance:
Holmdel Middle School
Hawthorne High School

Congratulations to the dedicated members of the Organizing Committee [Silvana Berardo (ITANJ President), Marcella Clatworthy, Marisa Fusaro, Lisa Manfre’, Guido Morsella, Anna Ranieri, Catherine Vignale and Prof. Gina Miele].   A very special thank you to the outstanding members of our panel of judges [Prof. Andrea Baldi (Rutgers University), Silvana Berardo, Angela Mangione Borelli, Dr. Annavaleria Guazzieri (Dirigente Scolastica, Consulate General of Italy in NY), Prof. Emanuele Occhipinti (Drew University), Phyllis Pizzolato (Panel Chair) and Anna Ranieri].

In case you missed it, here’s the Italian Language and Culture Day 2018 Program (PDF).


Italian Language and Culture Day “Paese che vai, usanza che trovi: Regional Customs, Traditions and Superstitions”

March 16, 2017

The representatives from trophy winning schools with donors and judges
The representatives from trophy winning schools with donors and judges

“Paese che vai, usanza che trovi: Regional Customs, Traditions and Superstitions”–The theme of this year’s collaboration between the Italian Teachers Association of New Jersey and the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America at Montclair State University.  A full house of 350 students and teachers from four middle and 10 high schools participated in this annual showcase/competition among New Jersey-based schools. Featuring original skits in Italian, written by the students themselves, complete with elaborate costumes, scenery and musical accompaniment. Additionally, an Italian-themed online game of Kahoot! added to the merriment, after the rousing chorus of Italian and American national anthems. The students’ performances were truly phenomenal. Congratulazioni, tutti!

Our outstanding panel of judges:  Anna Ranieri (Holmdel High School, retired), Silvana Berardo (Madison High School), , Marcella Clatworthy (Lyndhurst High School), Phyllis Pizzolato (Pascack Valley Regional High School District, retired), Andrea Baldi (Professor, Rutgers University) and Carlo Davoli (Director of Education, Consulate General of Italy in NY).

Trophy recipients at the Middle School Level:

1st place- Manalapan-Englishtown Middle School  (Un viaggio in Italia)

2nd place- Ocean Township Intermediate School (La torta dei Fieschi)

3rd place- Central Middle School ((Sognando d’Italia)

Trophy recipients at the High School Level:

1st place- St. Peter’s Preparatory School (Palermo, capitale italiana della cultura 2018)

2nd place- Union City High School (Girando con le stelle: tutti a Sanremo)

3rd place- Hawthorne High School (Benvenuti al sud)

More pictures of Paese che vai, usanza che trovi: Regional Customs, Traditions and Superstitions

In case you missed it, here’s the Italian Language and Culture Day 2017 Program (PDF)!‌


Italian Language and Culture Day “C’era una volta…/Once upon a time…”

March 16th, 2016

Italian Language and Culture Day crowd and presenters

Italian Language and Culture Day 2016–“C’era una volta…/Once Upon a Time&hellip” at Montclair State University, over 250 students and their teachers participated in this exuberant showcase-competition, an annual signature collaboration between ITANJ (The Italian Teachers Association of New Jersey) and the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America. Students at the middle school and high school levels performed their original skits–in Italian–for one another and delighted guests–complete with charming and elaborate costumes and scenery. Congratulations to our 250+ participating students and teachers—You were all phenomenal! Bravi!

More pictures of C’era una volta…/Once Upon a Time…

In case you missed it, here’s the 2016 ILCD Program (PDF)!‌


Italian Language and Culture Day “Il ‘Made in Italy”

March 25th, 2015

All of the Italian Language and Culture Day winners posing with trophies

A full house of almost 400 students of Italian from New Jersey middle and high schools competed during Italian Language and Culture Day, the annual signature collaboration between the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America (the ‘academic arm’ of Coccia Foundation) and the Italian Teachers Association of New Jersey (ITANJ).  Held on March 25th in the Conference Center at Montclair State University, this year’s theme was “Il ‘Made in Italy.” Under the leadership of ITANJ President, Comm. Catherine Vignale, and supported by the ITANJ Organizing Committee chaired once again by Lisa Manfrè, Italian teacher at Grover Cleveland Middle School,  this program provided an exciting and unique opportunity to showcase not only the Italian proficiency but the creativity and artistic talents of students at the middle and high school levels.

More pictures of Il ‘Made in Italy

In case you missed it, here’s the ILCD 2015 Program!


Italian Language and Culture Day “Un Viaggio nel Tempo: Ieri e Domani… A Journey in Time: Yesterday and Tomorrow”

March 26th, 2014

Students attending Italian Language and Culture Day

‌‌A full house of almost 400 students of Italian from New Jersey middle and high schools competed during Italian Language and Culture Day, the annual signature collaboration between the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America (the ‘academic arm’ of Coccia Foundation) and the Italian Teachers Association of New Jersey (ITANJ). Held on March 26th in the Conference Center at Montclair State University, this year’s theme was “Un Viaggio nel Tempo: Ieri e Domani” Under the leadership of ITANJ President, Comm. Catherine Vignale, and supported by the ITANJ Organizing Committee, this program provided an exciting and unique opportunity to showcase not only the Italian proficiency but the creativity and artistic talents of students at the middle and high school levels.

More pictures: ILCD 2014 Photo Gallery 1, ILCD 2014 Photo Gallery 2

In case you missed it, here’s the 2014 ILCD Program (PDF)!


Italian Language and Culture Day “In Cerca di…/In Search of…”

March 20th, 2013

Students at ILCD posing with cardboard boat

‌‌A full house of almost 300 students of Italian from New Jersey middle and high schools competed during Italian Language and Culture Day, the annual signature collaboration between the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America (the ‘academic arm’ of Coccia Foundation) and the Italian Teachers Association of New Jersey (ITANJ). Held on March 20th in the Conference Center at Montclair State University, this year’s theme was “In Cerca di…”. Under the leadership of ITANJ President, Comm. Catherine Vignale, and supported by the ITANJ Organizing Committee, this program provided an exciting and unique opportunity to showcase not only the Italian proficiency but the creativity and artistic talents of students at the middle and high school levels.

More pictures of ILCD 2013

In case you missed it, here’s the ILCD 2013 Program (PDF)!


Italian Language and Culture Day “Un giorno nella vita di…/A Day in the Life of….”

March 28th, 2012

Award presentation with certificate and pen

‌‌A full house of almost 300 students of Italian from New Jersey middle and high schools competed during Italian Heritage Day, the annual signature collaboration between the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America (the ‘academic arm’ of Coccia Foundation) and the Italian Teachers Association of New Jersey (ITANJ). Held on March 28th in the Conference Center at Montclair State University, this year’s theme was “Un giorno nella vita di…”. Under the leadership of ITANJ President, Comm. Catherine Vignale, and supported by the ITANJ Organizing Committee, this program provided an exciting and unique opportunity to showcase not only the Italian proficiency but the creativity and artistic talents of students at the middle and high school levels.

More pictures of ILCD 2012


Italian Language and Culture Day “La Canzone Italiana, A Celebration of Italian Pop Music”

March 30th, 2011

Middle school division trophy winners

‌‌A full house of almost 300 students of Italian from New Jersey middle and high schools competed during Italian Heritage Day, the annual signature collaboration between the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America (the ‘academic arm’ of Coccia Foundation) and the Italian Teachers Association of New Jersey (ITANJ). Held on March 30th in the Conference Center at Montclair State University, this year’s theme was “La Canzone Italiana, A Celebration of Italian Pop Music”. Under the leadership of ITANJ President, Comm. Catherine Vignale, and supported by the ITANJ Organizing Committee, this program provided an exciting and unique opportunity to showcase not only the Italian proficiency but the creativity and artistic talents of students at the middle and high school levels.

More pictures of ILCD 2011

In case you missed it, here’s our full program!‌‌


Italian Language and Culture Day “In Giro per L’Italia Cucinando, Traditional Italian Foods Represented Through Regional Specialties”

March 26th, 2010

attendees being served Italian food by chefs

‌‌A full house of almost 300 students of Italian from New Jersey middle and high schools competed during Italian Heritage Day, the annual signature collaboration between the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America (the ‘academic arm’ of Coccia Foundation) and the Italian Teachers Association of New Jersey (ITANJ). Held on March 26th in the Conference Center at Montclair State University, this year’s theme was “In giro per l’Italia cucinando”.  Under the leadership of ITANJ President, Comm. Catherine Vignale, and supported by the ITANJ Organizing Committee, this program provided an exciting and unique opportunity to showcase not only the Italian proficiency but the creativity and artistic talents of students at the middle and high school levels.

More pictures of ILCD 2010

In case you missed it, here’s our Italian Heritage Program (PDF)!


Italian Language and Culture Day “Le Maschere & I loro Dialetti nella Commedia Dell’Arte/Masks and their dialects in the Commedia Dell’Arte”

April 3rd, 2009

Professor Barbara Carbone

‌‌A full house of almost 300 students of Italian from New Jersey middle and high schools competed during Italian Heritage Day, the annual signature collaboration between the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America (the ‘academic arm’ of Coccia Foundation) and the Italian Teachers Association of New Jersey (ITANJ). Held on April 3rd in the Conference Center at Montclair State University, this year’s theme was “Le Maschere & I loro dialetti nella commedia dell’arte”.  Under the leadership of ITANJ President, Comm. Catherine Vignale, and supported by the ITANJ Organizing Committee, this program provided an exciting and unique opportunity to showcase not only the Italian proficiency but the creativity and artistic talents of students at the middle and high school levels.

More pictures of ILCD 2009


Italian Language and Culture Day “Lo Sport/ Sports”

April 2nd, 2008

students with project poster

‌‌A full house of almost 300 students of Italian from New Jersey middle and high schools competed during Italian Heritage Day, the first annual signature collaboration between the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America (the ‘academic arm’ of Coccia Foundation) and the Italian Teachers Association of New Jersey (ITANJ). Held on April 3rd in the Conference Center at Montclair State University, this year’s theme was “Lo Sport”.  Under the leadership of ITANJ President, Comm. Catherine Vignale, and supported by the ITANJ Organizing Committee, this program provided an exciting and unique opportunity to showcase not only the Italian proficiency but the creativity and artistic talents of students at the middle and high school levels.

More pictures of ILCD 2008