Don't cut valuable Latin program

Friday June 8, 2012

The recent proposed budget cuts to the Pittsfield Public Schools will slash many teachers and programs. One of these programs in danger if being cut is Latin.

I am a high school freshman and in my second year of Latin. In seventh grade all "ad vanced" students took half a year’s worth of introductory Latin. At the end of the year, when it came time to sign up for languages for eighth grade I signed up for Latin, and I am so glad that I did.

The two years of Latin have helped to advance my learning more than can ever be said. Latin has helped immensely with grammar, I can identify direct objects, relative clauses, demonstrative adjectives, participles, et cetera (oh look, a Latin phrase!). All these topics carry over to the English language, and I never heard of them before Latin. Many of the words we learn in Latin also have English derivatives; 60 per cent of English words are derived from Latin. This greatly improves vocabulary.

On tests like the SATs, where there is a vocabulary section, it is very helpful to be able to identify of what the root of the word means, if you do not know the exact definition. In fact, taking Latin has increased student’s SAT scores as much as 20 percent!

Latin is not by any means an easy subject either. It is necessary to study and every grade you get you know you earned. In this way, Latin teaches students good work ethics and how to study and work for a good grade.

If Latin is cut it will also put all students taking it to a disadvantage in applying to college. For the students taking Latin in their sophomore year now, they will not be able to take the recommended three years of the same language in high school, a huge turn-off to colleges. Also by forcing students to start over, they will never be able to reach an AP level of a foreign language.

I love Latin and all the things it has taught me, from grammar and vocabulary, to ancient Roman history and a good work ethic. There has been no subject that has so holistically contributed to my education, and I would be heartbroken if Latin is cut.




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