Learning the Latin lifestyle

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 18, 2001

A group of seventh-graders at Trinity Episcopal Day School got a break from school uniforms Friday.

Dressed in togas, the students ate Roman food and remembered the culture of an earlier time.

&uot;I’m trying to give them a real appreciation for the ancient world,&uot; said Linda Rodriguez, the school’s new Latin teacher.

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The students are taking part in a new six-week enrichment rotation for middle school students at Trinity Episcopal Day School.

About 100 students in the fifth- to eighth-grade will receive instruction in each of the following classes for six weeks this year; Latin, computers, study skills, art, current events and religion.

&uot;We want them to be exposed to as many things as they can especially when they’re young and open to new experiences,&uot; Dr. Delecia Carey, school principal.

Since the school has a structured college preparatory high school curriculum the enrichment rotation gives students the chance to take electives they would not otherwise have time to take.

&uot;We wanted to give them an opportunity to explore more creative ways of learning.&uot; Carey said. &uot;We wanted to … develop their creative thinking skills. We wanted to do more hands-on learning with them.&uot;

Carey said the school was able to include Latin in the rotation because Rodriguez, a former Latin teacher, agreed to take the job.

With 60 percent of English vocabulary coming from Latin, the class can help students on their SATs, Rodriguez said. It can also help them gain a better understanding of English grammar.

&uot;They’re really learning the nuts and bolts of how English works by learning Latin,&uot; Rodriguez said.

And activities such as today’s keep the class from being so boring, she said.

&uot;Making the food was fun,&uot; said student Hannah Feltus.

Seventh-grader April Roberts who made a Roma cheesecake called savillum said that she enjoys the class because it allowed her to do things that didn’t seem like work. &uot;I could get messy,&uot; she said. &uot;Latin is not known for being the fireworks of the curriculum, but I try to do what I can to bring it alive for the kids,&uot; Rodriguez said.