Mayor from Monasterolo, Italy gets slice of Texas during high school visit

DHS+Career+and+Technical+Education+Director+Shalontae+Payne+presents+Monasterolo%2C+Italy%27s+mayor+Marco+CavaggliaItaly++a+Duncanville+shirt+created+by++the+CTE+department.+%28photo+by%3A+Ricardo+Martin%29

DHS Career and Technical Education Director Shalontae Payne presents Monasterolo, Italy’s mayor Marco CavaggliaItaly a Duncanville shirt created by the CTE department. (photo by: Ricardo Martin)

What could a small town, population 1,500, in northwestern Italy and a bustling city, population of nearly 40,000, in northern Texas have in common? In Italian, they are called “gemelaggio”s; in English, we simply call them Sister/Twin Cities. Despite their differences, Duncanville, Texas and Monasterolo di Savigliano, Italy are unified by their sister-city relationship.

In celebration of this partnership, Monasterolo’s mayor Marco Cavagglia visited Duncanville this past week. On Monday, he toured several of the educational facilities, including the high school. His tour was guided by former Duncanville mayor Glenn Repp, current Duncanville mayor David Green, and campus principal Carlos Meekins. His experience was supplemented with visits to the Career and Tech classrooms, a performance by the Chambers Choir and southern cuisine provided by Culinary Arts.

“The trip has been wonderful,” Cavagglia said. “I like Duncanville, and I am very impressed with your school.”

The sister-city relationship between the two cities has existed since 1999. Repp played a key role in forming the partnership in when he invited 39 visitors from the Italian city to tour Duncanville and experience a homecoming parade. Since then, the relationship has grown and provided each city with a multitude of benefits. Green said the greatest benefit of the partnership is the opportunities for cultural exchange for citizens.

“Our sister city set up is different from most sister cities in that, most sister cities are [based on the] exchange of business, but ours is a person-to-person, a cultural exchange,” Green said.

Repp said that he hopes that people take advantage of the partnership’s opportunities for them to learn from both cultures.

“We have established a friendship with that city,” Repp said. “One of the things that we hope will happen is that there will be an interchange between citizens in our city and the city of Monasterolo, particularly among the young people.”

Repp, who has visited the Italian city four times himself, described Monasterolo as part of Italy’s “old world country”. The culture shock would fascinate many Americans.

“People from America have no concept of an old world country,” Repp said. “Their city hall is a castle that was built in the 1400s, and they don’t go to Tom Thumb and get groceries. The push cart comes in to town with the vegetables and that kind of thing.”

The culture shock in Duncanville has been fascinating for Cavagglia, who governs a city with a smaller population than Duncanville High School alone.

“Your school is about three times the size of my city,” Cavagglia said. “My city is very small. There is only an elementary school in my city.”

Cavagglia hopes that the relationship between the two cities will continue to grow and, like Repp, he hopes that the relationship will eventually foster a student exchange program.

“My dream would be that some of our students can come here and stay with you, and you do the same with us,” Cavagglia said. “To come here and stay with you, it’s a great opportunity, something everyone will remember for a lifetime.”

Cavagglia appreciates the warm welcome he received from Duncanville citizens, faculty, and students. He said he is leaving Duncanville with a great impression of our city and school.

“This was wonderful,” Cavagglia said. “Everyone was wonderful. I would say a big thank you to everybody.”

As he toured the campus, he took notice of the trophy cases full of awards and stopped to take a picture.

“Now when my friends ask why they call it the ‘City of Champions’, I will know what to tell them,” Cavagglia said.

Meekins said he hopes Cavagglia’s visit provided him with a positive lasting impression of Duncanville.

“It’s great to show him a slice of what Duncanville is really like,” Meekins said. “I think he got a great snapshot of our community, our students and what we do here on a daily basis.”

Photo Gallery from the day