Culture & Education Committee

Culture & Education Committee Frank Perrecone Karen Cantele Bea Ricotta

UPDATE! GRIAA’s Immigration Book Will Be Available at

GRIAA’S book, Immigration Histories of Rockford Italian Families, will be available for purchase during Festa Italiana in the cultural tent for $20.00.  Check payable to GRIAA is the preferred method of payment.

For mail orders, please send a check payable to GRIAA in the amount of $28.00 ($8.00 to cover costs associated with mailing) to GRIAA at P.O. Box 1915, Rockford, Illinois 61110-0415.  Be sure to include your complete address.  Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery.

After Festa Italiana, the book will be available for purchase at Ferolie & Perrecone, Ltd., 321 W. State Street, Suite 800, Rockford, during business hours.  Checks will be the only method of payment accepted.

Culture & Education Mission

This committee’s mission is to preserve and protect our rich Italian Heritage and Culture.


Sicilian Traditions ~~~Share them with us Pizza Oven in Aragona, Sicilly Benvenuti!

This my blog where I share and celebrate the small things that make my life joyful. I am first generation Italian-American. Our family comes from Sicily. Our traditions are still relevant and very much a part of our daily lives. We also appreciate and embrace the the diversity of cultures in America. We usually cook from scratch, we love our traditional dishes most but also enjoy delving into other cultures and cuisines. Welcome, click on the site below lets have some fun together. http://sicilianissimiinamerica.wordpress.com/       Listed below are some of the many events that The Culture and Education Committee of GRIAA have sponsored in the past years. Italian Guest Conductor Excites Rockford with Carmina Burana

Bridging the Atlantic: Rockford to Ferentino!

The Cathedral of St. Peter School has had the privilege to learn the beautiful Italian Language through funding from the Italian Government under the Culture and Education Committee of GRIAA. This past May, the children were able to show off their Italian to the delegates from the Sister City of Ferentino, Italy. The Mayor, Dr. Piergianni Fiorletta and the other delegates where amazed at the energy and enthusiasm of the children Signora Maria Diemer who teaches Italian throughout the year, had some classes present special programs to the Italian delegation: the Kindergarten sang and danced; the First Grade shared their special thoughts through art work that they presented to the men, as well as reciting their colors and numbers in Italian; the Third Grade really surprised the delegation by singing the Italian National Anthem, called Inno Di Mameli; and the Fifth Grade had a short dramatization on sports in America and Italy. The Ferentino Sister City delegates truly enjoyed the day! Smiles in any language say so much, and they seemed to have a permanent smile while visiting each class. In fact, some of the men joined in the National Anthem, while others joined in the dramatization involving sports especially soccer or calcio the National Sport of Italy. Below, are photos that show some of the children in their activities.

The First Grade class with Mayor Fiorletta (red sweater). Signora Diemer (on the right) with the children holding up their “Ciao” art work.

Mayor Dr. Piergianni Fiorletta (right) is proud to help three boys with the Italian Flag. With Mayor Fiorletta is Ennio Malancona (left), and Giuseppe Iorio The boys are (left to right) Will Sheley, Jake Sheley and Danny Appino

Italian Tradition Workshop Recreating St. Joseph Altar Spera!

February 12 & 13, 2005 will go down in Sicilian History! Yes, we decided to “bring back” the learning by recreating the beautifully intricate St. Joseph altar “cookie” designs that our grandparents made or had made for our home altars many years ago. Do you remember Miss Margaret Armato, Mrs. Provensano, and Mrs. Altamore and others who were always “there” to make the Spera, Sacred Heart, Peacock and Flower Pots for our home altars? Gene and Shirley Fedeli, culture chairpersons for GRIAA’s Culture and Education Committee along with Rose Ann Scalise Sheridan and Martha and Carl Scalise were the teachers. We had two session on Saturday, February 12th and Sunday, February 13th with eight “apprentices” who recreated those treasures from the past. What a wonderful time we had…kneading and rolling the dough, forming and cutting beautiful designs of our rich and traditional past. If you are interested in learning many of the “almost forgotten” favorite Italian traditions, contact us and learn how you can help preserve our heritage and become a part of the amazing chain of family linked to the past but preserving the future. Yes, this is an important part of our GRIAA mission.

Italian Tradition Workshop 2007 Pignolatti for St. Anthony Church Altar and the home Altar of Rosie Scalise Sheridan

We presented a workshop on February 24, 2007 at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Rockford, IL where we helped members of the church learn to make the traditional Pignolatti. This is one of the traditional desserts served at the Sicilian St. Joseph Altar. This workshop extended over two weeks. The first week we made the dough, rolled it out into pencil lengths, then cut them into small pieces. Then they were fried in hot oil until golden brown.

The following week we prepared the honey and sugar mixture. The fired pieces were coated, then formed into pyramids that represented the pignola or cone of the old days.
Pignolatti workers at St. Anthony Church March of 2008

One thought on “Culture & Education Committee

  1. Frank, I have read most of your writings. The research you did, was great, I really enjoyed the Perrecone. Saparito,story of your mom and dad. I have wanted to contact you for along time, but fear held me back. Be proud of the Italian heritage. If you don’t remember me, Charlie, was my dad.

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