Picture of MCWC Award Recpients

Italian Cooperative Program Wins Excellence Award

The Italian Cooperative Program was awarded The Pete Taylor Partnership of Excellence Award in Washington D.C. on August 1, 2017.  This prestigious award was created to recognize the work of former Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) Chairman Lieutenant General (Ret.) Pete Taylor in assisting military children. The award was designed to recognize the long-held belief of General Taylor that “goodness starts at the local level.” MCEC serves the children of those who serve us all and encourages efforts that strengthen our military children and ensure opportunities for their quality education. Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson praised the award and Italian Cooperative Program. She stated, “The importance of working with our allies and military to provide students a learning experience grounded in another culture is vital to living in a global society.”

The Italian Cooperative Program is a unique program that will begin at Ruckel Middle School and Niceville High School this year. The Italian Cooperative Program is meant to provide support for our NATO allies’ military children with the added bonus of teaching American students more about Italy and the Italian language and culture. This program will provide native Italian language instruction to the dependents of active duty Italian Air Force members who will be stationed at Eglin AFB, as part of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. Col. Igor Bruni, the Italian Military Representative, stated, “Eglin RMI staff and our families are not “guests” in the area. We are part of the local community, which has welcomed us and we appreciate the importance of facing each other every day with a culture that is different from ours.” Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Marcus Chambers noted how crucial it is for Okaloosa’s students to learn about different cultures. He said, “There is only one story in the world and that is the story of Man. Whether that Man is Italian or American, the story is the same. This program helps students understand just how important it is to understand a group’s particular way of life as that is what breaks down barriers and creates understanding and compassion.”

The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MB America, Inc. and the Filippo Marazzi Foundation funds this program by providing the teacher’s salaries, textbooks, and teaching materials. The OCSD will provide the facility space and educational support required to make this program a success for all students involved.