We’re all used to hearing bad news: “Latin program being eliminated!”or….“I’m being reduced to half-time!”
In the current climate it’s important to hear some good news. I have some to share, and I encourage all of you to send me other positive stories to me so that I can share them to the rest of our CANE readers.
Plaistow, NH, located in southeastern New Hampshire (pop. 7600), is home to Timberlane Regional High School. About 1400 students attend Timberlane, but until this current year none of them could take Latin. That has changed. This year, six students are taking Latin in a pilot program under the guidance of new teacher and program builder, Michael (Mike) D’Angelo (University of New Hampshire, 2013). But it gets better; 25 students have so far signed up to take first-year Latin next year (and eight others will be taking “The Classical World”), and the school has made a commitment to support the program at least into the second year, and perhaps into the third. Right now, Mike is working with the administration to come up with the required standards for the Latin program, which bodes well for the future of Latin in Plaistow.
I had the pleasure of meeting the Principal, Don Woodworth, and Vice-Principal, Sandra Allaire, last December (2015). They graciously talked with me for over an hour and expressed excitement about adding Latin to their curriculum. One of their motivations, naturally, was that Latin would add prestige to the school, but Don and Sandy also felt strongly that Latin had great potential to transform students’ academic lives. When I had the honor of meeting the current students I learned that all of them were pleased that they had the chance to take this ancient language. They told me that the highlight of their year came when the students summoned the courage (oh, to be young!) to contact Mary Beard and ended up having a 30-minute Skype session with the famous classicist!
Please send me any success stories that you know of, but also remember that my role is to help save programs in trouble—but we need to know as soon as possible to mobilize a response.
You may reach R. Scott Smith at the University of New Hampshire, Department of Classics, Humanities and Italian Studies
301 Murkland Hall, Durham, NH 03824 ; by telephone at 603.862.2388 (voice mail) and email, Scott.Smith@unh.edu