Exchange students planning authentic Italian dinner to benefit pregnancy clinic

Senior projects, Italian style

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CHS exchange students Francesco Ughi (left) and Gianluca Volpe are organizing a homemade Italian dinner for their senior project. Proceeds will benefit the Community Pregnancy Clinic of Camas-Washougal.

Gianluca Volpe and Francesco Ughi are hoping to bring a little of their homeland to Camas High School. As a part of their senior project, the two are preparing an Italian dinner from scratch, which includes making noodles by hand, creating two different sauce recipes, preparing appetizers, and decorating the CHS commons.

Tickets are $15 each and proceeds benefit the Community Pregnancy Clinic of Camas-Washougal.

The dinner will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 9, in the CHS commons.

Volpe, from Rome, and Ughi, from Milan, are both experienced in the ways of Italian cooking.

“My host parents are always asking me to cook something for them,” Ughi said. “So I thought it would be nice to do something on a (bigger) scale.”

When Ughi first approached Volpe about the project, neither teen had any idea about the level of work involved.

“We don’t have senior projects in Italy,” said Ughi. “We only have exams.”

Added Volpe, “It’s an experience in itself. I’ve never done anything like this before.”

Work thus far has included designing tickets, talking to community members and creating posters for the event — no easy feat when English is your second language.

The two chose the pregnancy clinic as a beneficiary because they like the organization’s work.

It offers free pregnancy testing, ultrasound services, and baby needs such as formula, diapers, clothing and furnishings.

The clinic also offers an education program for moms-to-be, some maternity clothing and support groups.

“It’s for a really good cause,” Volpe said.

The dinner will include homemade gnocchi, white and red sauces, meat, and various appetizers, with tiramisu for dessert.

“We wanted to create something that would be symbolic of Italy,” Volpe said.

“We’ve been practicing our cooking with different food to see what would be best.”

Tickets must be purchased in advance, as the two need to know how much food and decorations to buy, as well as plan the seating.

“It will be an authentic meal with a good cause,” Ughi said.

To purchase tickets, contact Volpe at 360-921-0333 or e-mail