Maria Lucchin's Love of Languages

The life story of Maria Rosaria Lucchin (nee Camperchioli) and the story of foreign languages in her life are one in the same. She was born in Agnone, a small town in the Molise region of Italy. In the sixth grade (prima media) she began her four years of French studies in Italy - three in middle school and one in high school (Liceo Scientifico). When Maria was fifteen, her family moved to Columbus, Ohio, and by necessity embarked on the study of another language, English.

She entered school as a sophomore at St. Joseph Academy and because French had been a favorite study in Italy, she discovered that the more English she learned, the more America felt like a new home and a main concern turned to enrolling in a foreign language class. Her academic advisor suggested a study other than French in which she was already adept. Maria chose Spanish for the final three years of high school.

The following year, she enrolled in Ohio Dominican College (now OD University), where she majored in French and Spanish education. During her senior year, she became a student teacher at Bishop Watterson High School. That same year she received her BA degree and Watterson asked her to stay on as a full-time Spanish teacher. After the first year, she also taught levels of French, while yearning to also make Italian part of the curriculum.

In 1985, thanks to the support of many parents and her principal John Durant, Watterson started an Italian program which became a great passion for her and for her students.

In the Fall of 2005, an Advanced Placement program was implemented in the fourth year of the language. Classes were smaller and provided students greater opportunity to express themselves in Italian and discuss current events, changes in Italian society and culture. The students loved to share stories of their Italian families, traditions, customs and food.

She constantly emphasized how important it was to learn a foreign language and participate in events related to the language. Maria encouraged students to attend opera, volunteer at Italian festivals, view Italian movies, go on trips to Europe and join an exchange program.

She decided that taking students abroad would provide moments that would remain with them for a lifetime. She was able to introduce experiences and memories for students during more than thirty trips abroad. They traveled to Italy, France, Monaco, Spain, Switzerland, and Greece. They climbed Mt. Etna in Sicily and Mt. Vesuvius in Naples, learned steps of traditional Greek dances and the Tarantella, ate in an agriturismo in Tuscany, visited incredible museums and saw Princess Grace's tomb in Monaco.

Because of these many trips, students have returned to Europe after school, to study, to travel or to work. Maria Rosaria started an exchange program with two high schools in Italy and students from those schools visit Bishop Watterson in the Fall and Watterson students visit Italy in the Spring.

After 40 years of teaching World Languages at Bishop Watterson High School, Maria Rosaria has retired. Teaching languages, especially Italian remains her passion. She hopes that her legacy is that students at Watterson will continue to make the study of Italian an important part of their lives and continue to be enthusiastic about everything Italian!