Italy Reads Students Interview Former Poet Laureate Billy Collins

Billy Collins

Billy Collins with Italy Reads participants

The Italy Reads 2017 ‘Emily Dickinson’ Keynote Address by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins was an occasion for 14 high school students from 7 different high schools and 4 JCU students (Italy Reads Volunteers) to get hands-on experience while contributing to the success of the kick-off event for JCU’s 9th annual program of English language reading and cultural exchange.

The entire group of students interviewed Billy Collins for the ELSG (Experiential Learning Student Group) Newsletter they produced and provided organizational support at the Keynote Address which took place at the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei on October 12, 2017, introduced by European astronaut Paolo Nespoli from the International Space Station (ASI Mission VITA).

In preparation for these tasks, students participated in weekly meetings and workshops on interviewing techniques and key elements of newsletter preparation. The executive board of the JCU’s student newspaper The Matthew and JCU staff also contributed to these workshops.

Students earned up to 35 hours for Alternanza Scuola Lavoro (ASL) fulfilling a variety of objectives such as demonstrating professional behavior when welcoming guests at the limited-seating event, producing a newsletter, a sample brochure and a proposal for a hypothetical event at their school.

Experiencing first-hand all aspects involved in preparing for a major event, working in teams face-to-face and through remote collaboration using shared documents, this group of students came away with a greater understanding of how to organize an event and interview an important writer.

At the final meeting of this 2-month project, students were asked to present their work to JCU Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs Mary Merva and answer questions about their experience. All activities were performed in English. JCU’s Italy Reads thanks the dedicated high school teachers who encouraged their students during this project.