“The best of youth” is the title of a movie by Marco Tullio Giordana. If we play with it, and turn it into “the best of childhood”, we will get an apt description of the pupils of elementary school “San Francesco” in Palmi (province of Reggio Calabria), who have recently been awarded first place in the competition “A new ethics charter for Rai” (which is Italy’s longest running broadcasting company).
A requirement for the new document was its limited length (not above ten lines), which put a focus on the qualitative aspect as a selection criterion. In this respect, the names of some of the jurors (who were coordinated by the teacher Daniela Agresta) need to be quoted: the name of the president of the jury, senator Sergio Zavoli, one of the biggest of Italian journalism, is by itself a guarantee of prestige. The jurors he coordinated are no less important: Renzo Arbore, Dario Fo, Matteo Garrone, the linguist Tullio De Maura, the historian Rosario Villani and the jurist Roberto Zaccaria, to quote the most renowned of the twenty-five names that made up the jury. The event was promoted by “Articolo 21” and “Eurovisioni”, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and under the aegis of EBU, an organization of more than seventy European media providers. About two thousand students from more than fifty schools and universities from almost every region of Italy took part in the compatition.
We have talked with Daniela Agresta, the teacher who helped the very young pupils from elementary school “San Francesco” win this prestigious recognition. “The children were able to put their capabilities to good use and they did a wonderful job following the guidelines of the competition” says this teacher from Palmi. There is more work than meets eye behind this victory: Agresta selected ten fifth-year students and set up a programme for them of evening extra classes. Further aspects that led to the recognition were the inspiration drawn from the Italian identity card format to redraft the Rai charter and its translation into English, a detail that was highly praised by the president of Rai Monica Maggioni, who has pointed out that today’s public services should start to target an increasingly wider audience and adopt an international frame of mind.
On the last September 24, the pupils received their longed-for prize at the Rai headquarters in Viale Mazzini. “Try to keep your enthusiasm alive, and the world of adults will take your point of view into account when the moment comes to plan out the future of public services” is an abstract from a speech made by the general manager of Rai Campo dall’Orto, who was present at the event. The whole board of directors of the national broadcasting company was there, having adjourned an administrative meeting to welcome the children. In the afternoon, they were even admitted into the Quirinal Palace by the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella. After a short report made by the chief executive of Rai Renato Parascandolo, one of the promoters of the competition, the winning text was read out by the pupils. The President dismissed himself with a well-wishing message for Rai, defining it as a primary point of reference in the landscape of Italian public services. The inspiring principles repeatedly asserted during the event and in the presence of the children were unmistakable and clear: the values of peace and democracy.
Below is the awarded text, a small poem that is fit to make Calabrians proud, as it gives them the knowledge that their children are growing up well.
Let’s go back to cheering up chilren
We the children from an elementary school
would like Rai to give us something new
We’d like a channel for all the children
from the smaller to the bigger!
We want programmes that can lead on our fantasy
and engaging documentaries;
we need interesting programmes and music
but don’t need no scary movies!
We’d like a newscast tailored for us
to know more about the world around us,
not too centered on drama and pain
as we need good feelings and love to reign.