San Patricio Language Institute History: A Timeline
Serving the Merlo Community and Beyond
This timeline tells the story of San Patricio Language Institute, founded by Graciela Susana Guglielmone in 1971.
Today, under the leadership of its Managing Director, Patricio Ferrari, and Director, Daniela Novo, San Patricio fosters a fertile, friendly environment while striving for excellence in foreign language education.
Steeped in a tradition of nearly 50 years, we seek to perpetuate our founder’s mission: sharing the culture and language of the United States in a spirit of social inclusion, academic distinction, and intellectual joy.
The Founder of San Patricio Language Institute
The roots of Graciela’s passion for the English language date back to the mid-50’s when, aged five, she met Dr. Pérez Mosquera, an Argentinian-born businessman and neighbor of the Guglielmone family. Dr. Mosquera travelled frequently to New York City; the ritual between Graciela’s father, Alejandro Guglielmone, and Dr. Pérez Mosquera was to greet each other in English – always and only in English. “I rejoiced in the sound of a language I did not understand, yet struck a chord in me,” Graciela recalls “and would often daydream of visiting the States one day.”
Student at the Private Academia Willy
Founded a few years prior by Mrs. Lily D. de Mardosic, this neighborhood language school became Graciela’s first formal contact with English. “An exceptional lady,” in the words of Graciela, “someone who could be Irish or Argentine depending on which language she spoke.” Or, as Mrs. Lily often put it: “We are who we speak; just choose the language you want to be.”
Teacher Assistant Years with Mrs. Lily
On her 15th birthday and after completing her 3rd year of Elementary English, Graciela became one of Mrs. Lily’s assistant teachers. While at Academia Willy, she co-taught two weekly courses for children ages 5 to 10. Lessons revolved around storytelling and games.
Offering of Private Lessons
After her experience with Mrs. Lily, and in order to afford her continuing education at the Cambridge Institute in Buenos Aires, Graciela began giving private English lessons. She offered these weekly lessons in the back room of her father’s Architect Studio and Copy Center, located on Libertador Avenue, in Merlo.
Full-time Student at the University in Argentina
After graduating from Sacred Heart High School, in December 1967, Graciela enrolled as a full-time student of English Translation at the University of Morón. Located 15 miles West of Buenos Aires, it was the second year the university offered this degree. Graciela continued teaching English at the Architect Studio and Copy Center of her father until she graduated from the University in 1971.
Merlo School District English Teacher
A year prior to graduation, Graciela began work as an English teacher in the Merlo School District, both at Consolata Middle School (1970-1981) and at Sacred Heart High School (1970-2004). Sacred Heart is a network of schools in 30 countries – a school where Graciela taught for 34 years in addition to running the San Patricio Language Institute.
25 November 1971
University Graduation and Establishment of San Patricio Language Institute
Construction of San Patricio Language Institute
Graciela and her husband started the construction of San Patricio at 1018 (former 995) Victoriano Loza Street, in a lot located on the same block where they lived and two blocks away from Mrs. Lily who had retired in 1970.
Their son, Patricio, was just three years old at the time. Graciela’s father, Alejandro Guglielmone, signed the architectural blueprints. Marta Raquel Guglielmone, Graciela’s sister, who had graduated as an architect from Belgrano University Aires in 1975, helped sketch the technical drawings of the building.
Inauguration of San Patricio Language Institute
The Institute opened its doors in March 1980. The building initially had a reception area for the secretary, a back office for its director and founder, two classrooms, and a backyard with sandpit and willow tree, serving as playground for the younger students. A thatched-roof car garage also served as a pavilion recreation area within the school walls.
While English as a foreign language was the main subject taught, other classes such as mathematics, accounting, and typing courses were offered. Graciela’s husband, Rubén Ferrari, was in charge of the latter courses until 1982 when a severe illness forced him to retire.
December 1990 to June 1991
U.S. College Experience as a Professor
During the spring of 1991 Graciela taught English and Spanish as second languages at North Lake College (Dallas County Community College District) in Irving, Texas. While in the U.S. Graciela traveled to both coasts, visiting Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, and New York City.
It was during these months in the U.S. that she became acquainted with the natural language approach, developed by Tracy Terrell and Stephen Krashen in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This approach, still practiced at San Patricio today, aims to create a stress-free environment with emphasis on communication in the new language one wants to learn from the outset.
1991 - 2001
Graciela Guglielmone, Active Member of the Rotary Club in the U.S. and Argentina
Graciela became an active member of the Rotary Club of Arlington Great Southwest (1991), while she resided in Arlignton, Texas. Upon her return to Argentina, she joined the Rotary Club of Northern Merlo (1991-2001).
In 1990, Graciela and Nestor Carlos Correa (Graciela’s future second husband) had begun to host Rotary International exchange students from a wide range of English speaking countries – paving the way for Patricio’s interaction with foreign cultures.
Fall 1992 – Spring 1999
Founder’s Son Graduates from U.S. High School and Attends College on Soccer Scholarship
Patricio attended Strath Haven High School (Wallingford, Pennsylvania) as a Rotary exchange student where he was part of the varsity team (state runner-up in the fall of 1992). He was offered a soccer scholarship, first to Campbellsville College (Kentucky) and then to Slippery Rock University (Pennsylvania).
After graduation, he was offered a soccer scholarship, first to Campbellsville College (Kentucky) and then to Slippery Rock University (Pennsylvania). He played one season in each school, stopping in 1996 due to injury.
San Patricio & U.S. High School Exchange Program in Oregon
San Patricio Language Institute partnered with Hillsboro High School (Oregon) in what became one of the first student exchange programs offered in the greater Buenos Aires area. (While Argentinian students traveled to the U.S. in January, American students came to Argentina in July).
Between 1993 and 1999, San Patricio Institute and Hillsboro High School would do seven exchange programs. Daniela Novo, who’d studied English at San Patricio since the age of five, was the Institute’s first exchange student. Years later, in the winter of 1997, she chaperoned the group of San Patricio students.
Mrs. Gail Moore, teacher of English, was in charge of the Hillsboro High School students. She writes: “I have been back to Merlo and San Patricio several times. I took two or three more student groups, and now have a “family” to visit each time. Yes, through San Patricio and its study program, I can say that thirty or more students from Oregon and I had our lives enriched and changed.”
Nestor Carlos Correa becomes active at San Patricio & Abroad
Carlos Correa, a bookkeeper, builder, painter, and chef, became active at San Patricio during the 1990s. From secretarial and accounting work to property maintenance and building expansion, Mr. Correa remained the Language Institute until the late 90s when he returned to his first love of cooking and became a professional chef, first in Merlo and then in Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain).
In the winter of 1997, he chaperoned the San Patricio exchange students to Hillsboro High School in Oregon and Schreiner College in Texas (Schreiner University since 2002). Two years later, in January of 1999, he was in charge of the last group of San Patricio students to attend Hillsboro High School.
Spring 1995 and 1997-1998
Graciela Guglielmone as Rotary Team Leader in the United States and President of the Rotary Club in Argentina
Team Leader of the Argentine Rotary Group Study Exchange (Districts 4850 – 6900) in Atlanta, Ga during the Spring of 1995. (Rotary Clubs visited in the state of Georgia: East Cobb, North Lake, North DeKalb, de Meriwether, LaGrange, Columbus, East Columbus, Sandy Springs, Vinings, Buckhead, and West Point). Shortly after Graciela’s return, she was elected President of the Rotary of Northern Merlo for the period 1997-1998. A Paul Harris Fellow, Graciela was member of this club for a decade, between 19991 and 2001.
Nestor Carlos Correa as Rotary Club President in Argentina and Rotary Team Leader in the United States
During the Spring of 1998 Nestor Carlos Correa was team Leader of the Argentine Rotary Group Study Exchange (Districts 4850 – 5520) in Texas and New Mexico. (Rotary Clubs visited: Fort Stockton, Carlsbad, Roswell, Ruidoso, Clovis, Portales, Fort Summer, Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Farmington, Socorro, and El Paso).
Before Mr. Correa’s trip to the U.S., he had been elected President of the Rotary Merlo Club for the period 1995-1996 and district chairman the following year. A Paul Harris Fellow, Mr. Correa was member of this club for 15 years, between 1986 and 2001.
The years of experience with the Rotary Club in Argentina and trip to the U.S. led him to become chaperone of various San Patricio Language Institute Study Abroad groups.
San Patricio & U.S. College Exchange Program in Texas
San Patricio & U.S. High School Exchange Program in Pennsylvania
San Patricio begins its second High School Exchange Program in the United States. Marta Guglielmone, became the chaperone of San Patricio students who attended Strath Haven High School, the same institution Patricio Ferrari and his cousin, Matías Novo, had graduated from in 1993 and 1996, respectively.
Both men received U.S. college soccer scholarships for their performance at Strath Haven.
French Classes at San Patricio Language Institute
Before attending graduate school at the Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III), Patricio taught English and French private lessons at San Patricio.
March 2000 - December 2007
The Expansion Years
Alicia Fook de Guglielmone – with great attention to detail and thoroughness – served as the Institute’s secretary. A second floor was added to the property. Alejandro Guglielmone supervised the construction on behalf of the Founder.
In the early 2000s San Patricio began to offer full and partial scholarships (based on need and merit) to a wide range of Merlo students.
Patricio Ferrari Graduates from the University of Paris III – Sorbonne Nouvelle
Patricio obtained a Master of Advanced Studies (Diplôme d’études approfondies) from the Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III) in Comparative Literature with a dissertation on the works of Jorge Luis Borges and Fernando Pessoa.
Portuguese Classes at San Patricio Language Institute
Portuguese lessons begin at San Patricio adding to the vibrancy of its academic life while also amplifying the Institute’s leadership in educational innovation.
30 October 2012
Patricio Ferrari Earned his Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of Lisbon
His Ph.D. at the University of Lisbon (Portugal) was awarded based on a dissertation on the trilingual poetry of Fernando Pessoa, one of the 21st century most acclaimed poets.
By this time, Patricio spoke Spanish, English, French, Italian, and Portuguese fluently, as well as conversational German and Hindi.
Post-Doctoral Year at the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies at Brown University
Return to San Patricio & Founder Semi-Retirement from Day-to-Day Duties
Daniela Novo returned to San Patricio in March 2015 to teach Adults English classes. Shortly afterwards she was promoted to Director.
While serving as Director, Daniela is in charge of the Institute’s curriculum as well as the international exams courses (Cambridge FCE, Cambridge CAE, Cambridge CPE, TOEFL, and IELTS).
Founder and Managing Director Begin Literary Collaboration
Following a 47-day road trip across the United States, through 33 states, and driving 11,222 miles, Graciela Guglielmone and Patricio Ferrari (mother and son) started to translate poetry. To date, they have co-translated into Spanish the poetry of Frank Stanford (Foundlings Press, 2018) and Laynie Browne (Zindo & Gafuri, 2018).
New York City Years
Since 2017 Patricio Ferrari has resided in New York City while teaching at Rutgers University and serving as San Patricio Language Institute’s Managing Director.
Besides his literary activity in poetry and translation, he volunteers at the Endangered Language Alliance, an independent non-profit based in New York City focused on the immense linguistic diversity of urban areas.
2019 - 2021
Present & Going Forward
In 2021 San Patricio Language Institute will celebrate its 50th year anniversary. With a new look and website, upcoming Exchange Programs with U.S. high schools and colleges, as well as other local educational initiatives – the Institute will continue to grow and prosper teaching young children to adults the pleasure and relevance of knowing a second language.