St. Pius V School student wins 3rd place in National Poster Contest


PROVIDENCE — Sofia DiMascio, a seventh grader at St. Pius V School in Providence, recently won 3rd place in the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese’s (AATSP) National Poster Contest. DiMascio represents the state as the only student from Rhode Island to place in the contest.

The AATSP promotes the study and teaching of Spanish and Portuguese languages and their corresponding literature and cultures throughout all levels of education. Each year, the AATSP sponsors a poster contest that is open to K–12 Spanish and Portuguese students whose teachers are current AATSP members.

At St. Pius V School, Spanish teacher Johanna DiIorio is a current AATSP member. This year, two of her students submitted posters for the contest, including DiMascio.

“It is an honor for me to have accompanied our students and to be able to offer new alternatives to see how learning a language is also the opening to know and understand new cultures,” said DiIorio.

This year, the AATSP’s theme for the poster contest was: “Español y Portugués para un mundo multilingüe y multicultural,” — Spanish and Portuguese for a multilingual and multicultural world.

DiMascio’s poster shows the connection between Spanish-speaking countries. With the phrase “Solo el agua nos separa,” — Only water separates us — she depicts how, despite the distance, the countries are connected through our shared language, culture and tradition.

DiMascio also drew the flags of all Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries, and in a mixture of colors, gave a vibrant touch to her creation. She added the Quetzal bird, which according to ancient Mexicans and Mayans, represents a symbol of goodness and light. Its green tail feathers are also seen as symbols for growth in the spring. In several Mesoamerican languages, the term Quetzal has the meaning of “sacred” or “precious.”

DiMascio completed her poster on March 3, just two weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic firmly took root in the United States.

Sister Maria Francesca, O.P., principal of St. Pius V School, said that DiMascio has made the “Firedog Family” proud.

In a statement, the school said that at a time when we are more distant from each other than ever before, DiMascio’s winning poster brings hope and comfort knowing that regardless of how far apart, everyone is united togther by something greater — language, culture and hope.

“Sofia's work is beautiful and warm,” said DiIorio, “We are very proud of Sofia and applaud her talents and creativity.”

For more information about St. Pius V School, , please call (401) 421-9750 or email To view the other winning posters for the AATSP’s contest, visit this website.