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Joyful West Orange High School Italian Night Celebrates UNESCO Sites, Beloved Teacher Retirement

WEST ORANGE, NJ – In a colorful and joyous evening sponsored by the Italian Language Department on June 7, Italian Night at West Orange High School celebrated not only Italian UNESCO sites, but the retirement of beloved Italian teacher Vincenza Amabile.

“This year's Italian Night showcased Italy's rich cultural heritage by featuring its UNESCO World Heritage sites,” began Italian Honor Society and Club Advisor and Italian teacher Rosanna Zamloot.

“Italy, the country with the largest number of UNESCO sites in the world, provided an inspiring backdrop for the evening. The event highlighted seven of Italy's 59 UNESCO-designated sites, brought to life by the dedicated students of the Italian programs from various schools,” she explained.

UNESCO, which stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, boasts nearly 2,000 sites worldwide.

“Students from Edison, guided by Marcella Clatworthy; Liberty, led by Carlo Felici; Roosevelt, under the guidance of Anna Maria Grammatica; and the high school, directed by Matthew Garcia and me, created informative displays and intricate miniature models of the selected sites. These presentations were complemented by performances featuring famous artists from the regions of these heritage sites, showcasing their songs and dances,” Zamloot continued.

The students worked tirelessly to prepare for the dances, songs, and beautiful displays, demonstrating their commitment and passion for the Italian language and culture.

“A particularly special moment was a song performed by students from Edison MS, Roosevelt MS, and the high school. This performance included both singing and sign language, taught by my sister-in-law, Andrea Turco, adding a heartfelt touch to the evening,” she went on to say.

The event also served as a tribute to Italian teacher Vincenza Amabile, who is retiring after 18 years of  dedicated service. Alumni and current students, along with the Italian teachers, celebrated her love for Italian culture, especially dance. The positive impact Ms. Amabile made in the lives of her students was a testament to her passion and dedication.

In recent years, the Italian program has seen significant growth. It offers virtual classes with a sister school in Florence for advanced students, organizes trips to Italy for juniors and seniors, and assists students in applying for and receiving full scholarships to the Montclair State University Italian Summer Intensive Program, where they can earn college credits.

The evening also celebrated the awarding of 11 scholarships: four from Orange/West Orange UNICO and six from the Italian Club Scholarship fund, recognizing the hard work and dedication of students.

“I extend my sincere thanks to my supervisor, Felix Plata, for his continuous support. A special thank you to my wonderful colleagues Marcella Clatworthy, Carlo Felici, Matthew Garcia, and Anna Maria Grammatica for their invaluable help in making Italian Night a success, and to the Orange/West Orange UNICO for their support,” Zamloot concluded.


SEE THE PHOTOS FROM ITALIAN NIGHT HERE. (Thank you to Gary Rothstein for the Scholarship photos)

Italian Night

World Languages Supervisor Felix Plata, Board VP Maria Vera, Councilperson Tammy Williams, Board President Brian Rock, WOHS Principal Oscar Guerrero, Asst. Principal Lou DellaPia

Italian Night

Rosanna Zamloot and Vincenza Amabile

Italian Night

Mason Insana with Middle and High School sign team

Italian Night

Dancing with Sra. Amabile

Italian Night

Frank Gonnella of UNICO with scholarship recipients Aidan Medina, Sophia Jacob, David Tamay, Michael MontoyaRuiz 

Italian Night

Rosanna Zamloot with Italian Club Scholarship recipients Brody Mailman, Jeremy Flitt, Haylie Rodriguez, Mia DeStephan Radice, Francesca Schuler.

Italian Night



Cynthia Cumming
June 12, 2024