Joplin, MO 64801-1595
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The speaker will be sharing the experience of a second generation Italian-American son growing up in a culturally diverse community in the coal fields of southeast Kansas. In this presentation, the audience will be introduced to the influences, both good and bad, of European immigrants and their descendants. How they wove their "Old Country" customs into the fabric of life in the area that came to be known as the "Balkans."
The story of an Italian immigrant family will be told as they leave their home in the Dolomite alps of northern Italy and travel to the new world in hope of finding a better life and greater opportunities for themselves and their children. It is the intent of Dr. John Battitori to convey to the audience an understanding and appreciation of the influences and contributions of not only the Italians, but of all the Europeans who immigrated to southeast Kansas. How many in this day and age would uproot their family, travel thousands of miles across an ocean to a country where they did not speak the language, know the customs, and in some cases weren't always welcomed with open arms. The proud people of the Dolomites did!
Dr. John Battitori was born in West Mineral, Kansas, to first-generation Americans whose parents immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s from the Trento region of northern Italy. This area is also referred to as "The Tyrol." These Tyrolean immigrants were fiercely independent mountain people who wanted a better life for their children. Both of Dr. Battitori's grandfathers went to work in the deep-shaft coal mines of southeast Kansas. One was severely injured in a cave-in but survived; the other was killed in a rock fall in the Stone City Mine near West Mineral. Dr. Battitori's father went to work in the deep-shaft coal mines at the age of 12.
Dr. Battitori received a B.A. from Wichita State University, an M.S. from Fort Hays State University, an Ed.S. from Pittsburg State University, and an Ed.D. from Oklahoma State University. He was superintendent of schools in Coffeyville, Kansas, from 1984-88, and in Girard, Kansas, from 1988-2000, where he still resides.