Michela Ponte, a 102-year-old former literature teacher, was able to realise her dream and return to the classroom for a day.
It happened at the Rosso di San Secondo Institute in Caltanissetta.
“Nonna Michela”, as everyone calls her with affection, moved and emotional, but also as authoritative as she once was, took the roll call and, one by one, the children confirmed their presence by standing up.
The initiative is part of a project carried out by Rossana Amico, manager of the rest home where the 102-year-old is staying.
“He always told us,” said the manager of the home, “that his secret to living this long was to study and read a lot. She has always got on well with everyone, has no complaints and never argues. She has a daughter in her seventies who used to teach at the grammar school and to whom she has passed on the same love of literature”.
Michela Ponte’s above-average lucidity and intelligence still allow her, at the uncommon age of 102, to know several poems by heart and to read and recount her memories.
During the lesson yesterday, she recited in Italian “La primavera sorrideva” by Antonio Machado, on which she had prepared a few days before, in anticipation of the event, and the pupils joined her in reciting it in Spanish.
“The elderly are our memory,” said head teacher Bernardina Ginevra, “and it is important to see how they represent not only a reference, but also a clear affirmation of how fundamental school and study are in life.