First ever Latin Day integrates Latin programs across schools

Maddie Shaw

Latin Club hosted Latin Day for the first time on Saturday, Jan. 28, promoting connectivity and inclusivity across Midtown, Howard Middle School and Carver High School.

Latin teacher Scott Allen was among the teachers who organized the event. The event was intended to be similar to the State Latin Convention, where schools from across Georgia come together to explore Latin culture through fun activities over the course of a few days.

“The Latin teachers from the three schools, Carver, Howard and Midtown, we got together back in August to do some planning work, and we were brainstorming and decided to have an event where we bring kids from all three schools together so they can meet each other and have fun,” Allen said. “They can do activities that are more creative in nature and also are similar to things that happen at the State Latin Convention.”

During Latin Day, middle school and high school students participated in a range of activities including Latin trivia and Latin board games. Howard students were able to interact with Midtown students they may join in the future.

“I signed up for the event because it sounded like a fun way to learn some Latin and maybe meet some people,” Howard student Henry Lee said.

Senior and Latin Club officer Zach Spangler said that the program values the students’ passion for Latin and their willingness to learn outside of school.

“I really enjoy getting to see all these new faces,” Spangler said. “There are a lot of promising candidates for the Latin Club, and it’s very nice that they show their appreciation of Latin by coming out here on a Saturday morning.”

Howard and Carver have relatively small Latin programs, so Midtown serves as an inspiration for them.

“At these schools we’re with, their Latin programs aren’t as strong or large,” senior and Latin Club officer Grace Bradshaw said. “We want to get them into it more, and we want to let them know that [at Midtown], it’s a big thing and everyone participates.”

Carver Latin teacher Sonia Masters said another motivation for introducing Latin Day was to encourage students to attend the State Latin Convention in April. 

“I really wanted the kids to see what the Latin Convention is all about in a smaller setting,” Masters said. “This is so they won’t be so intimidated at the state level.”

Masters said bringing diversity to the State Latin Convention can expose new groups of people to Latin.

“At State Convention, you usually see certain groups of people and not a lot of other people,” Masters said. “It would be great to have that diversity that reflects American culture. That’s definitely what I think Carver is a part of, showing that Latin isn’t just for certain groups; it’s for everyone.” 

Latin Day also serves as a way for students to connect over their shared interest in the language and Roman culture.

“I didn’t think this many people would like Latin,” Carver student Amauri’ Watkins said. “I thought I was one of the very few who liked it.”

Spangler said Latin’s approachable nature allows it to bring students together.

“With such a rich culture and a history that’s so accessible, I think it’s pretty easy for everyone to learn about [Latin] and communicate through it,” Spangler said. “It’s always interesting.”

Not only did Latin day connect students, but it also brought together the faculty from the various schools. 

“There are not many Latin teachers around, so any time we get a chance to talk to our peers, it’s great,” Allen said. “We speak the same language, and we hardly ever get the chance to see each other. It’s wonderful.”

After participating in indoor activities, Latin Day moved outside to Henderson Stadium to begin Roman-inspired athletic events. There was a modern-day discus throw using frisbees and a relay race. 

“We do the Olympic events because the Romans really believed in a sound mind and a sound body,” Allen said. “They also emphasized the importance of wellness and taking care of yourself physically, which is something we strive to do today. I think the students are making lots of connections and seeing the impact that the Romans have on our society.”

Lee said Latin Day was a way to transfer knowledge from the classroom to a real-world setting.

“Latin Day isn’t just drilling verb endings and getting that stuff memorized,” Lee said. “It’s actually using what you’ve learned about religion, culture and language in a fun way.”