Pandola Learning Center is the center of Little Italy
All of my nine aunts and uncles attended school at St. Leo's, especially since their father (my grandfather, Pasquale Pellegrini) built the school and convent. There is a bronze plaque in the school lobby listing the builder as "Frank Marine"; his business name due to discrimination against Italian immigrants at the turn of the previous century.
The Pandola Center, the result of years of effort by Father Rusty and Joe D'Adamo, is the center of Little Italy, as valuable as the Parish itself. If it takes a village to raise a child.... it takes many families to make a village. And, that is what we have here in downtown Baltimore - a village, generations in the making. Traditions carried from the old country and blended with the freedom and opportunity the United States offered. As a result of the inspiration of the faculty and learning the Italian language, my cousin and I were able to regain the ancestral home in a small hill town half way between Rome and Naples. We share it with our very large extended family to connect us with our origins six generations later. As Yogi Berra has been reputed to have said: "How do you know where you're going if you don't know where you're from?"
That spirit continues in the Pandola Center and the St. Leo's Parish in a proud neighborhood, mindful of the blessings bestowed upon us and protected with our love of neighbors and blessings from above.
Frank Verde (Verdecchia) / Pellegrini
Pandola Learning Center is a Treasure
From: Noel Valenti-Grammer
Last year my sister & I attended the pasta classes hosted by Mrs. Platerote, Joe, and Terry. We enjoyed the experience and these great instructors so much we signed up for the Italian Sunday dinner class because we didn't want the fun and good food to end. Joe and Terry, we need a new class! Or we may just have to come back to practice. Let me add, the Pandola Learning Center is a treasure.
Grazie mille, Noel Valenti Grammer
Pandola Classes a must before trip to Italy
From: Jody Costa
My sister and I discovered the Rev. Oreste Pandola Adult Learning Center while we were preparing for our family trip to Italy and Sicily. We weren’t sure what to expect, and well, I think both of us were surprised by how much we fell in love with our class. We took Mark Tosti’s Italian for Travelers, and it became something I looked forward to every Thursday.
Mark is a fantastic teacher - and my new "skills" really came in handy during our trip. On top of that, my classmates were just so fun and kind, and by the end of the class, I truly felt like I had somehow found my second family. In fact, I’ve never felt so immediately swooped up and welcomed in my whole life! I look forward to taking more classes at the Center and keeping up with my classmates in Little Italy!
Barbara Cook presented at our October book club.
From: Barbara Cook
Hi Rosalie, I had another book signing/presentation , this time at the Eldersburg Library. Over 50 people came. I met Tony Brocato who was born and raised in Cefalu'. I invited anyone in the audience who wanted to share a family story to come up to the mic. Tony did and he was very colorful! I served biscotti that my mom and I had baked and coffee that my husband Danny set up for us. Everyone said they had a great time ,and some people had tears in their eyes because it all brought back so many memories of their own families. I want to say, molto grazie to you Rosalie . You were the first person to invite me to share my book . Hope all is well with you. Ci sentiamo! Barbara Aquila ...P.S I think the lodge members of Little Italy really know how to have a good time and it will keep you all forever young!
Marybeth Jason December, 2012
Dear Mrs. Platerote, Joe, and Terry,
I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know how much I enjoyed your class. It was so much fun. You were all incredible teachers! You made it look so easy. I've made the sauces several times now, and my family certainly appreciates it.
Your generosity in holding this class is truly admirable. Thanks so much and have a great holiday.
Carolyn Schweitzer December 6, 2012
Attending the "Homemade Pasta Class and Sauces" at the Rev. Oreste Pandola Learning Center has been my favorite activity of the fall 2012 season! Cooking instructor ,Joe Platerote, with his Mom and Cousin Terry Giorgili present a wonderful hands-on class in cooking yummy Italian pasta. I have only completed one of the three sessions starting with Pasta Alfredo. Kneading and feeling the dough has been a great. Class size is good and we have a great group of students attending the sessions. Eating our pasta after making is an extra treat. I can't wait for the Ravioli and Gnocchi classes.
Jeanine Brown December 6, 2011
I discovered the Learning Center last semester when I signed up for several classes including Italian 101, a pasta making class, and a limoncello class. This semester I attended “Italian for Travelers” and learned how to play bocce. There is no pressure like other classes I’ve taken over the years at other places and the instructors obviously love what they do. I looked forward every week to taking the trek downtown to attend class. The support staff couldn’t be any more gracious and helpful. All of the classes I’ve taken have been informative and loads of fun. I will especially miss my classmates from “Italian for Travelers” but hopefully they too, like me, will return again and again to the Center.
Brenda Hoops Rouse December 4, 2011
Having travelled to Baltimore's sister city, Genova (Genoa) last year, I was looking for a chance to not only keep up, but improve the little Italian that I had learned. I was excited to discover that the Rev. Oreste Pandola Adult Learning Center offered Italian classes for all different levels. Since the Center is conveniently located in Baltimore's Little Italy, I signed up for Italian for Travelers. Taught by Mr. Mark Tosti, our group learned and practiced the basics of Italian. Mr. Tosti was always willing to entertain our questions about the language and customs, always sharing his first hand experiences. Breaks allowed the opportunity to co-mingle with other students and learn of their Italian adventures over coffee and biscotti. The center not only offers language classes, but cooking classes and other interests in Italian culture and has a couple of satellite locations outside of Baltimore. One of the best thing about taking a course here is that everyone has a keen interest in everything Italian and the small class size allows individual attention to your questions.
I am looking forward to the Spring class offerings at the Center and can't wait to rejoin my fellow students.
Laura Vieceli Brooks January 12, 2007
I am a native of Chicago, and currently live in Fairfax, Virginia. After living in rural North Carolina for the last 15 years, I was thirsting to learn more about Italian food, drink, and culture, and soon visited Baltimore's Little Italy several times. Not having my family around, and as I missed having my Nonna to teach me about Italian food and drink, I jumped at the chance at learning home made wine tasting and amaretto.
I look forward to taking more classes from such friendly, kind, and loving people who made me feel like I was part of their family. Thank you for making me feel so welcome!
Brian Costantini November 27, 2006
"I have been fortunate to attend a number of Italian lessons at the 'Rev. Oreste Pandola Adult Learning Center'. Learning the beautiful, musical language of my ancestors has been a happy challenge, one I look forward to each week. I wish it could be year 'round.
The big surprise to me was not the fun of learning but the unexpected pleasure of getting to interact with and know so many wonderful people in class and throughout the Center. Those who teach for, work for, and take classes at the 'Pandola Center' are filled with a joy of living that I find infectious!
Special thanks to Sister Joan, a truly special human being whose life is as fascinating as it is important, for preparing me with such great humor to move on seamlessly to Peter Rutelli's class."
Dr. Robert Anderson Fall 2005
This is an excellent opportunity for students of all ages to learn not only Italian language, but also about Italian culture, recreation, cooking, and other subjects. There are classes at all levels, combining the warmth and informality of a family gathering with the excellent teaching (e.g. most if not all language teachers are native Italian speakers).
Costanza Collins July 22, 2005
I have been studying Italian at Rev. Oreste Pandola Learnming Center for about four years. I have learned the structure of the Italian language, and I have also learned about the Italian culture. The teachers are Italian and are very knowledgeable about the language and culture. They are patient and make learning fun.
I have also learned a Baltimore Folk art, screen painting. I have painted screens for family, friends, and myself.
The Rev. Oreste Pandla Learning Center offers an adventure in learning.
As a bonus, I have made many friends.
Share your comments about Pandola Adult Education Center. We'd love to see them and will put the on the web page to allow visitors to learn why we enjoy the center. You can email comments to us.
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