Biagio Auricchio is so full of life, when he walks into a classroom the energy changes.
“Buon giorno mia piccola familia!” he says as he walks into his Elementary Italian class at the Kendall Campus. It means, “good morning my little family.”
Auricchio has been working at Miami Dade College since 1976. He began as a part-time Italian tutor and started teaching as a full-time Italian and French professor in 1985.
“I came here to take a Spanish class and I never left,” said Auricchio. “I’m still here.”
He was born in the town of San Giuseppe Vesuviano in Naples, Italy. In 1974, at the age of 17 he moved to Miami with his parents and five siblings in search for a better life.
For the first year he worked as a janitor at a hospital with his two sisters, and as a server at the now defunct Mario’s restaurant, at the time owned by his aunt and uncle.
At the age of 18, he enrolled in Miami Coral Park Senior High School in search of a football jacket with the letters “C” and “P.” Instead he found what he wanted to do for the rest of his life while giving a presentation in his Spanish class.
“I loved it,” Auricchio said. “I loved the attention, people staring at me and liked standing in front of the class.”
He continued his education at MDC where he received his associate’s degree, he pursued his bachelor’s degree in French at Florida International University, and his master’s degree at Florida State University.
“What’s not to like about beautiful sounds and beautiful words, and beautiful sentences,” Auricchio said about languages. “It’s just a beautiful moment to be able to be caressed by these sounds.”
He applies his passion for languages everyday to teach his students.
“He’s one of the very best teachers ever,” said Hector Vazquez, humanities and music theory professor at Kendall Campus who took four semesters of Italian. “You don’t realize you’re learning because you’re laughing the entire time.”
Aside from working from 7 a.m. through 8: 30 p.m. Auricchio works as a server on the weekends at his family’s restaurant, Nunzio’s
Claudio Galaz, a french student said he is surprised about the professor’s double life.
“He makes class interesting and he’s an overall great professor,” Galaz said. “ I was really surprised that he works two jobs and owns a restaurant.”
Auricchio wouldn’t have it any other way, he loves his full days.
“I think if you love what you do it really doesn’t matter how many hours you put in. You can be physically tired, but mentally you are not,” Auricchio said. “You always have that fire in you to get up in the morning and start again, which I absolutely adore.”