When half of the English vocabulary is made up of Latin words and roots, it is surprising that more high school students are not studying Latin. Latin provides the root words for all of the modern sciences and is the language of law, politics, logic, and theology. While a large number of words in science come from Greek, law is the exclusive domain of the Latin language. All legal terms are in Latin. Still, according to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, only 3% of high school language students are studying Latin.
But at Lyndon Institute, Latin is thriving. While small in number, the mighty Latin Team at Lyndon Institute is celebrating an “annus mirabilis” or an “amazing year.”
“The achievements of our Latin students have truly surpassed our expectations this year. Not only did they complete their studies in the classroom, and study very hard for competitions, but they also tried to interject their enthusiasm for this language across our campus in different events throughout the year,” said Roy Starling, LI’s Latin teacher and President of the Vermont Classical Language Association.
The year started with a visit to Yale University where students competed in the Yale Certamen and made the semifinals, competing against hundreds of students from schools across the country. Additional competitions included the Granite State Certamen, winning a silver bowl award from the University of Vermont’s Latin Day, and a visit to Boston for the annual Certamen hosted by the Harvard Classics Club.
“We helped to organize and update UVM’s Latin Day this year, hosted the Snowball Dance with an Italian theme, ran the bake sale at the school musical, and helped to raise funds for our trip to Italy during April break,“ said Abigail Ham, LI senior, Class of 2019 Salutatorian, and the vice president of the VT Junior Classical League. “We have truly made some great friendships during this exciting year and now we can all speak to each other in Latin!”
In April, seventeen students and two chaperones from LI's Latin Club took EF Tour's "Grand Tour of Italy" over spring break. They flew into Milan and spent time in Verona, Venice, Assisi, San Gimignani, Florence, Sorrento, Pompeii, Naples, and Rome. Highlights of the trip included seeing the Duomo in Florence, a guided tour of the ruins of Pompeii, visiting the Vatican and Colosseum in Rome, gondola rides in Venice, and gelato and swimming in Sorrento. Probably the most memorable moments came from the last night in Rome, when the students took a night time walking tour of the Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, and the Trevi Fountain.
"The most amazing part of the tour for me was visiting so many of the places we had been learning about in class. It puts it in perspective and makes it real in a way that seeing it in a book could never do," said LI sophomore Julia Before.
"This trip was an amazing opportunity to spend time with these students, to get to know them better, and to experience the joys of overseas travel and adventure with them. I have come home from this trip with a solid sense of appreciation and affection for these students and LI's amazing community. Chaperoning this trip was an honor and a privilege. And more importantly a reminder of why I have chosen to work in schools," said LI English teacher and Italy trip chaperone Sara Flynn.
Latin students Toby and Abigail Ham competed at the recent NH Junior Classical League Forum held at St. Paul’s School. Toby Ham was elected the president of the Vermont Junior Classical League.
The results of the National Latin Exam as are follows:
Gold Medal (summa cum laude):
Abigail Ham, level III
Silver Medal (Maxima cum laude):
David Kantor, level I
Tristan Miller, level III
James Gilbert, level V
Magna cum laude:
Devin Brown, level I
Max McClure, level I
Julia Before, level II
Christopher Vanderhoof, level III
Kate O'Farrell, level IV
Cum laude:Kace Colby, level II
Photo Caption: Lyndon Institute students are pictured during their school trip to Italy during April break. Pictured at Pompeii are: L-R front: Jaedyn Wade, Kate O'Farrell, Haley Chadburn, Andrzej Prince; middle: Julian Stahler, Rio Steen, Tristan Miller, Caitlin Taylor, Devin Brown, Julia Before, Holden Middleton, Noah Foster, Kace Colby; rear: Aidan Maxwell, Alex Young, Tim Goodwin, and Jim Gilbert.