Latin students do it again!

Once again, a majority of Pine Cobble’s Latin students have earned recognition on the National Latin Exam. Their competition is tough, too. Consider:

The majority of students who take the National Latin Exam are high school students. Ours begin taking it in sixth grade.

That national pool of high school students is already a highly self-selected group; Latin tends to attract only a small group of high school students to begin with, and in most schools (including local ones), the exam is optional. Students tend to take the exam on a Saturday, paying the exam fee themselves…so the pool is inherently skewed toward the most motivated.

Nationally, you’ll find few middle school students taking the exam at all, let alone having all middle school-age students take it as a mandatory part of class.

Here, on the other hand, every student takes the exam; it’s a mandatory part of class. And our students do well:

  • Cate Byrne (sixth grade) earned a certificate for the Intro to Latin exam.
  • On the Latin I exam, Sam Swoap (eighth grade) and Elias Sekkal (seventh grade) earned Gold Summa Cum Laude honors, Adly Templeton (eighth grade) earned a Silver Maxima Cum Laudehonor, and Catherine Cavalli (seventh grade) earned a Magna Cum Laude honor.
  • On the Latin II exam, Matthew Germanowski (eighth grade) earned a Gold Summa Cum Laude honor, Olivia Ellard (eighth grade) earned a Silver Maxima Cum Laude honor, and Annika Wells (ninth grade) earned a Magna Cum Laude award.
  • Just one student, Emma Whittum (ninth grade), took the Latin III exam; she earned a Cum Laude honor.

The National Latin Exam is offered under the joint sponsorship of’ the American Classical League and the National Junior Classical League. Nearly 150,000 Latin students from all fifty states and from 13 countries participate.

At Pine Cobble, students begin learning Latin in fourth grade, with the study really taking off by sixth grade. Latin is the root language from which today’s modern Spanish, French, Italian, Portugese and other European tongues developed; when students have a firm foundation in Latin, it is much easier to learn a modern Romance language. It’s also an outstanding way to gain a stronger grasp on our own vocabulary and literature; nearly 60% of English words derive, directly or indirectly, from Latin roots. That’s probably why students who take Latin score significantly higher on standardized tests like the SATs.

The study of Latin also helps students to understand better the grammar and syntax of their own native language, ultimately encouraging clarity of expression and stronger analytical thought.

And beyond that, of course, there is this: Latin is a fascinating and beautiful language, and it is a gateway to some of the greatest texts in all of human history.

Congratulations to our students, and thanks to Mr. McCormick for creating such a terrific and engaging Latin program. We eagerly await Language Day, when students don their togas and get their well-deserved kudos for their success in Latin!

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