Penobscot School, a center for language learning and international exchange founded in 1986 in Rockland is celebrating 25 years of service to the Midcoast community. Kicking off the 25th anniversary celebration is a fundraising raffle with the chance to win a week’s stay for four at a Tuscan villa in May/June of 2012.

This prize comes through the efforts of one of Penobscot School’s supporters, Nancy Harmon Jenkins. A teacher and student at Penobscot School, Jenkins is opening her Italian home to the lucky winners for a week. Jenkins is a writer on food and food topics and divides her time between Italy and Camden. Airfare is not included in the first prize. However, $1,000 toward expenses will be awarded to the winner.

The second prize is a $200 gift certificate to Amalfi On The Water in Rockland. Third prize is four bottles of organic wine donated by Chartrand Imports, also of Rockland. Only 200 tickets are being offered for sale between July 1 and November 2011 when the winners will be announced.

Tickets are $100 each and may be purchased at Penobscot School, or from trustees of the school, and at several Rockland, Camden and Rockport locations. Rockland locations include Caravans, Gemini Marine Canvas, The Sweets & Meats Company, The Loyal Biscuit Company (tickets also available at Belfast location) and Fiore: Artisan Oils and Vinegars. In Rockport, Bay Chamber Concerts, RAYR: The Wine Shop, and The Market Basket will be selling tickets. Tickets in Camden may be found at The Owl & Turtle Book Store.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for individuals and families to support international learning,” said Julie von Kamecke, Spanish teacher at Rockport Elementary School and chair of the Penobscot School Board, in a news release. “The odds of winning a fabulous week in Tuscany or one of the other lovely prizes are really quite good.”

For more than 25 years, Penobscot School has provided a myriad of opportunities for all ages, including foreign language classes for local adults, youth and children, and language immersions for adults and high school students from around the country. In July, August and September, the school enrolls international adults in three-week English immersions. This homestay program provides an opportunity for local families to bring diversity and international friendships into their own households.

The non-profit school also offers free community events throughout the year. Some of these events, such as the weekly language lunches and monthly potluck suppers, serve to complement the foreign language courses. They are open to all levels. Film, cooking classes, holiday celebrations, art and cultural exhibits and presentations are also part of the mix. Local residents are invited to participate as a student, teacher, friend, donor or host in the pleasure and richness of cultural exchange.

Consider supporting Penobscot School. For further information regarding ticket purchases, please visit one of the local businesses mentioned, penobscot.us, or the 28 Gay St. location in the north end of Rockland. Or, call the school directly at 594-1084.