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The Student News Site of Prospect High School


The Student News Site of Prospect High School



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New Italian teacher teaches more than the language

By Jane Berry
Approximately 7,000 miles make up the Tour d’Afric bike trail that connects Cairo, Egypt and Cape Town, South Africa. Antonino Bondi, the newest Italian teacher, noticed a poster about it at a local bike shop and since then has made traveling down it one of his goals in life.

“I would definitely say that I’m unique,” Bondi said, “but I’m also kind, caring and, of course, Italian.”

Even though he was not born in Italy, (he’s actually from Arlington Heights) Bondi’s first language was Sicilian, a dialect of Italian. As a child, he attended Italian school on Saturday mornings, and as a teenager, he spent entire summers in Sicily.

“There is something about the culture that just clicks,” Bondi said.”You adapt so quickly because their laid back way of life is incredible. They just really know how to enjoy it [life].”

The first time he visited italy during his freshman year in high school, he missed the first three weeks of school because of the Maria Santissima Lauretana (MSSL), an Italian festival.

Almost every town in Italy has a patron saint and subsequently has a feast for them as well. In the town Bondi’s family visited in Sicily, Altavilla Milicia, the feast is in the first week of September. On a whim, Bondi and his family decided they were going to stay and celebrate the feast.

“I’m really glad that I stayed because I experienced something that I would never have known or seen otherwise,” Bondi recalled. “I have heard about it, but it’s not the same as when you get to experience it for yourself.”

Besides visiting Italy as often as he can, Bondi is also a very active part of the Chicagoland Italian community. He goes to many festivals, such as the MSSL feast that takes place in Berwyn, Illinois, and has been a part of The Sicilian Band of Chicago playing the trumpet. As a traditional part of his culture Bondi bakes cookies for every holiday, participates in wine making and also speaks Italian at home.

“I’m very proud of my culture,” Bondi said. “Italian is truly my passion, and I hope to share that with all my students.”

Having attended John Hersey High School, Bondi knows what District 214 has to offer.

“I’ve always wanted to come back,” Bondi chuckled. “It’s definitely an easier commute.”

Although Prospect was not his alma mater, he chose to join the staff.

“There’s a prestige that comes with [Prospect] and I wanted to be part of that, ” Bondi said.

His favorite part of the first day of school was the people that filled the hallways and his classroom. There were a few laughs like one student wanted to be called pollo (meaning chicken in Italian) and the day just “flew by”.

While teaching here a Prospect he hopes to strengthen the Italian program by making the community more aware of Italian culture and supporting the Italian program in doing the same with the students.

“I want all of Prospect to be aware of the greats of Italy.” Bondi said.

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