The Don Bosco officially recognised private institute of Alexandria in Egypt won the first prize in the team writing competition for upper secondary schools.
On 30 May, the award ceremony for the “Che Storia!” Competition was held at the Central State Archives, promoted by the Academy of Arcadia and extended to Italian schools and sections abroad with the collaboration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Five foreign institutes have joined the fifth edition of the initiative: the Dante Alighieri officially recognised private School in Córdoba, the Don Bosco officially recognised private Institute in Alexandria, Egypt, the Albert Einstein Gymnasium in Berlin, the Freudenberg Arts High School in Zurich, the Italian IMI High School in Istanbul.
Class 3B of the Don Bosco officially recognised private Institute in Alexandria, Egypt won the first prize in the senior category with the story “My name is Giuseppe”, an “engaging and true-to-life” autobiographical narration, which traces the various existential phases in the life of Giuseppe Ungaretti. The text, that evolves around the places where the poet lived, is fashioned by the authors starting from the reading of the poems in the collection “Il porto burolto” and drawing on the sources present in the historical archive of the institute, such as period photographs and the poet’s elementary school reports.
The teacher in charge, Tullia Giardina, received the award, who defined the city of Alessandria as an “outpost of Italian culture abroad”, and underlined how the Don Bosco Institute represents a point of reference for Italian language and culture, which is sought after thanks to the added value it has and not only for the school education that the children receive.
The teacher spoke of the experience of writing the story as an opportunity to discover the profound humanity of her children, who were emotionally involved by the memory, and to discover the dimension of suffering, the torn spirit and uprooting. The teacher also stated that her students’ dream is to come to Italy, work in Italy, an aspiration often revealed in their essays and texts, but also in the lines of the story awarded by the Competition Jury:
At school, starting from the elementary school I attended in my childhood at Don Bosco in Alexandria, in rue de Cherif. […] Only now it is no longer Italian students born in Egypt who attend it, but Egyptian students who like to feel a little Italian and who dream, perhaps in the future, of moving to Italy. They still don’t know about the pain of losing their identity. What do they know, young people also as unaware as I was at their age, of being uprooted? Of the encounter-clash between cultures, languages, traditions? What do they know about losing their roots? I paid the price but come to think of it, I would never change my life with someone else’s. Alessandria is not far from Italy, it is not, at least ideally. And even when we Italians in Egypt, foreigners to ourselves and to our homeland, went away forever, we returned to visit it in our night time wakefulness, to repopulate it with men and things, to rebuild it in our visions. Because Alexandria is the dream, Alexandria is the time that returns, Alexandria is the past and the future in a tight embrace. Everything is in her, because Alexandria doesn’t know she is Alexandria.
In the foreign senior category, the same school obtained a recommendation for the story “Il trono di Eratostene”.
Other stories considered worthy of mention, in the foreign junior category, are: “Un mare di gente” from the Albert Einstein Gymnasium in Berlin, and “Le ferite del destino” from the Freudenberg Art School in Zurich.