This past March, the majority of MHS Latin students participated in the National Latin Exam. Of the students who participate, 29 of them won awards ranging from Cum Laude certificates to the Cum Laude gold medal. An award ceremony was held in the Jenkins Auditorium on May 18th to recognize the winners for their achievements.

MHS’s Latin teacher Julie Snyder has been giving her students the exam for the past three years. She believes that Latin is an important language to learn because “there are so many things you can learn from it! It helps with writing, speaking, using literary and participating in debates”. She claims that “people come to [her] all the time saying ‘[they] talked about what we learned in Latin in another class and [they] already knew about it’”

The National Junior Classical League runs the exam every year and chooses its winners. Snyder explains that the league “takes a look at the national average, and any student who got a grade that was or was close to the national average would receive a particular award”. The exam is created by the Steering/Writing Committee, which consists of Latin teachers across the country who apply information from their textbooks and teaching methods into the exam. A rough draft is written in August and the final exam is determined after much revising and proof-reading. Other awards that are given out include Ribbons and Certificates of Achievement and the NLE Certificate of Merit for each school participating in the exam. Gold medal winners who take more challenging Latin courses are eligible to apply for $1,000 scholarships.

The National Latin Exam website states that “The philosophy of the National Latin Exam is predicated on providing every Latin student the opportunity to experience a sense of personal accomplishment and success in his study of the Latin language and culture. This opportunity exists for each individual student since, on the National Latin Exam, [he] is not competing with his fellow student on a comparative basis, but is evaluated solely on his own performance on the exam”.

When asked about her students, Snyder claims that “[they] work really hard in and out of class. [They] also improve their skills and grow as Latin students over their years of taking the course. For example, [her] first year at MHS, only 6 awards were given out compared to the 29 given out this year.” Snyder hopes that the Latin Exam “helps students with their skills in Latin and provides them with the experience of taking an advanced level Latin test.”National Latin Award Winners. Photo taken by Megan Downer.

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