Zebra Tales
Julien '19

Who Says Latin is Dead?

Latin is one of my favorite classes. After the first two years of required Latin, however, I wasn’t convinced I would continue on with the dead language. The truth about Latin is that the first two years are full of semi-monotonous memorizations. While these conjugations, declensions, and lists of vocabulary are necessary in order to build a solid foundation to be able to actually read Latin, they can be pretty uninspiring. But what kept me going was when we finally started reading at the end of Latin 2. We read all sorts of texts, ranging from Caesar to the Pope’s tweets. The idea of connecting to the past in such a direct way was exciting to me. And so, I began my long journey with the Classics…
Latin 3 unlocked a whole new passion for Classics. Whether it was the sassy and cutting remarks of Cicero or the beauty of VergilI was enthralled. On top of that, I was in a class full of students who loved Latin. Since the requirements were over, most students dropped Latin as quickly as they could. While I do want to support the Classics department, I also like the fact that we are such a small community. It makes for a really special experience. Where else will you find such a wild group of nerds passionately belting out Christmas carols in Latin? Or creating a jukebox musical of The Aeneid with 1980s music? Yes, it may seem strange, but for me it brought a language that is supposedly obsolete to life.

AP Latin was a time. Many people cowered at the idea of the class because of its infamous reputation. My friends and I, however, were so excited. I’m not going to lie, it had its challenges. There were many late nights filled with lines upon lines of Latin that remain in my head to this day. But, once again, I found an incredible sense of community. Everyone worked so hard while still genuinely enjoying what we were doing. In fact, some of my favorite Groton memories were made in that class. Drinking sweet tea and eating biscuits made by our teacher the night before the AP. Decorating our classroom with votive offerings to the gods (including a pair of Caryatids picked up in Greece during our March Global Ed trip). In the end, the hard work paid off. But, more than grades and testing, I learned how such a supportive and passionate group of students can inspire one another.

I have just finished the fall term of Latin 5 and I am loving it. We are currently reading Catullus, and it is so relatable. At this point, Latin feels like home. A class where, no matter what is going on in the rest of my life, I can come and be among people who also genuinely enjoy doing Latin. There is only one section of Latin 5, and I have had class with every student at one point or another. In fact, I have even had Latin with one of them for all five years (shoutout to Amy Lu!). I am so happy to have found such a wonderful, unexpected home at Groton.