New Latin teacher Mr. Hunter heads Inman Latin program

Samantha Huray

More stories from Samantha Huray


Samantha Huray

Grady teacher Mr. Hunter instructs first-year Latin student freshman Jalen Roberts in his Latin 1 class.

Grady teacher William Hunter is teaching Latin at Inman Middle School, altering the entire Latin program. This school year, Hunter travels from Grady to Inman each day.
In previous years, when rising freshman came to Grady, they started the language with Latin 1. This year, that same class is being taught to seventh graders at Inman.
“You just come in with some knowledge, and you can go farther in high school,” said Hunter, who is new to Grady. “This way you can go all the way through AP (Advanced Placement) a little less stressfully.”
Current Latin teachers Scott Allen and Amy Leonard help recruit Hunter to Grady. He has been studying Latin since 1988 and graduated from the University of Georgia with a Latin degree. Hunter has taught across metro Atlanta, most recently at Duluth High School in Gwinnett County.
“Only one high school I’ve taught at had middle school Latin feeding into it, but that was strictly a connections class, not for credit,” Hunter said. “It’s something that’s growing. In fact, with Latin club at the convention, there is this whole separate program for middle school students.”
Hunter starts his mornings at Grady, teaching two Latin 1 classes. Then, he commutes to Inman, less than a mile up Virginia Avenue, where he teaches a seventh grade Latin 1 class and a sixth grade introduction to Latin class that involves Roman history, culture and mythology.
“We use the same texts. They have pretty much the same assignments, and are held to the same standards, but they are 12 going on 13 years old,” Hunter said. “Some of them get a little full of pride when I tell them there are 11th graders, and even 12th graders doing Latin 1 at the high school.”
Even though the idea of taking Latin, which is usually only offered to high school students, may be intimidating to some students, the Latin program at Inman is popular.
“I decided to take Latin because it will help me learn other languages and will help me with the ACT and SAT,” said seventh grade Inman student Ellie Palaian. “I enjoy the class because I am learning about the Romans and the gods, which are things I’ve never learned about before.”
Students have the opportunity to earn high school credit for taking the class at Inman, which is similar to what has been offered in the past with Spanish and French classes.
“Students that I don’t teach walk by and say, ‘Oh I wish I was in Latin, but I’m already in Spanish,’” said Hunter. “It’s just something new and different, and there was a lot of parental support and request for it at the middle school.”
Contrary to the change happening at Inman, Grady’s program remains the same.
“It doesn’t really affect the current Latin teachers. It’s really just an expansion of the program,” said Allen. “Ms. Leonard and I are still teaching Latin 1, but we have added some additional sections.”
However, Grady may have to add a Latin 5 class in a couple of years. Senior Harry Suazo took Latin 1 in middle school, and has already completed Latin 2, 3, and AP Latin. In his Latin 5 class, Suazo translates the Res Gestae, which is an account of all the things Augustus Caesar did when he was emperor.
“I really enjoy that class. I don’t find it terribly hard, but it is certainly as challenging as the AP Latin class I took last year,” said Suazo. “I think it will be an excellent class to transition into college Latin with.”
Hunter knows Allen and Leonard from years of teaching. They easily work together planning and creating assignments.
“They’re really great people and great teachers,” said Hunter. “I’ve almost always been the only Latin teacher at a school, so it’s kind of lonely, but here we are really working as a team from 6th through 12th grade.”
In the future, the program will be adjusted to make it the most beneficial it can be to both Inman and Grady students.
“We’re trying to make a seamless operation where the students come from eighth to ninth grade, and there are no surprises,” said Hunter. “When Mr. Allen and Ms. Leonard publicized the program, I basically said ‘tell me where to sign.”