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ESK students win ‘National Latin’ honors

A fledgling sixth-grade Latin class at The Episcopal School of Knoxville began last fall has earned honors for the school and prompted the administration to offer a second year of Latin to seventh-graders this fall.

Peter Klekamp, director of ESK’s Middle School, said that in offering Latin at such a young age, ESK is following the trend of private middle schools around the country.

“Many educators have called this one of the most promising trends in curriculum improvement. Not only does it provide a solid foundation for more advanced language learning and signal high expectations for our students, but by providing a lively look at Roman culture, customs, mythology, and history, it is also fun.”

A delegation from the class won first-place and a standing ovation in a skit contest at the Knoxville Latin Convention at Bearden High School in December.  The challenge was to present an improvisational skit featuring scenes from the Trojan War. Additionally, one student, Will Lauver, won special recognition for his costume as a “bloody gladiator.” The achievements were all the more special because all the other competitors were high school students.

Mat Luce, Latin teacher, said he is a firm proponent of early Latin instruction.

“I’ve always been of the persuasion that the younger you start learning Latin, the better. I believe a solid classical training helps you in so many other aspects – grammar, vocabulary, literature, great classical literature.”

He said students will have a foundation by high school to help them excel at a Romance language such as Spanish or French and have a good foundation for science.

“We’re starting to see a resurgence of a classical education in high schools,” said Luce.  “The Episcopal School of Knoxville is right on the upswing of that. I’m really excited that we’re setting the precedent now.”

Episcopal School students who earned certificates of High Achievement on the National Latin Exam for missing fewer than six questions are: Anne Batcheller, Dominic DiSanto, Trey King, Myra Lloyd, Sadie New and Craig Wallace. Students who earned certificates of Achievement for missing less than 10 questions are: Matt Benson, Kawal Jooma, David LaBine, Hannah McCormack and Michael Mullaney.

The nine sixth-grade Latin students who won first place at the Knoxville Latin Convention last December are: Will Lauver, Evan Nelson, Sarah Riddle, Canon Woodward, Justin Badgett, Matt Bates, Scott Nord and Alexa Riggs. They competed against students from local high schools.


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