In the past students have had the option to take one of three different languages beginning in seventh grade, however, a recent school board decision has led to the potential cancellation of the middle school Latin program to “budget issues”. Despite the fact that the middle school Latin program has been popular and has been showing signs of growth, the school board wants to make core class sizes even smaller, and claims that in order to accomplish this goal they would need to cut the Latin program. However, many students are outraged by this decision and the consequences it would have on the high school Latin program as well as students interested in potentially pursuing IB Latin and Latin V.
Yesterday, on December 16, I attended a school board meeting where many students came and spoke about the changes being made and the potential effects they would have on future Latin students. During the school board meeting there were approximately 10 Latin students in attendance as well as several parents who wished to speak out in support of the Latin program. The students in attendance were: Madison Goldstein (Sophomore), Kate Whitney (Sophomore), Elizabeth Whitney (Senior), Amelia Magay (Sophomore), Penelope Van Der Meer (Senior), Nick Morris (Senior), and Sarah Avampato (Senior).
Several students spoke in what was at times a heated meeting. Latin student and Senior Nick Morris spoke, bringing up multiple statistics and polls that showed a positive correlation between students taking Latin and an increase in standardized test scores emphasizing the correlation between students SAT scores and students who had taken Latin as well as the value of world language programs. Another student who spoke was Penelope Van Der Meer, who mentioned the significance and importance of Latin for students interested in pursuing IB diploma and Latin as a language. The final student speaker, Amelia Magay, brought up several possible means of raising money for the Latin as well as a petition that had been circulated among students which gained 245 signatures within 24 hours in favor of maintaining the Latin program.
Among other issues brought to the board’s attention was the significance of Latin in regards to classics and in building a more global perspective for prospective students as well as the value of learning Latin in order to better understand the foundation of a variety of languages. As the meeting concluded and the board discussed the prospective budget changes in order to keep the Latin program (it would require around $32831 to continue the program), a decision was reached and the board did not vote in favor of maintaining the Latin program at Lurgio. The students dedication to preserving the Latin education as well as the classics program is admirable, and represents the power and significance students can have on their community, even if the desired results are not always achieved this shows once again the significance of the student voice.
If your interested in watching the meeting yourself and seeing students take action you can see the video online by clicking on this link.