Forty-five years in the New York City public schools gave Leonard Covello, now retired, a profound appreciation of immigrant peoples and their American-born children. An Italian immigrant himself, he graduated from Columbia with a backlog of experience working within the Italian community in East Harlem. In the new East Harlem branch of the YMCA, the school, night school for adults, store-front recreation centers he practised his conviction that using the immigrant's native language was an expedient path to his stable assimilation. Thus was founded the first department of Italian at Benjamin Franklin High School where he was principal for twenty-two years. By teaching the children of immigrants to appreciate their parents' culture as well as the new culture of which they were now a part, he and his idealistic colleagues were able to reduce the tensions which naturally breed in the melange of backgrounds found in East Harlem. Although Mr. Covello minimizes the inherent difficulties associated with his work, his recollections, case histories, techniques may provide a bit of encouragement to others engaged in similar activities.