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James Clemens students prove their fluency on National Latin Exam

These teenagers were among the Latin students at James Clemens High School that completed the National Latin Exam. (CONTRIBUTED)
These teenagers were among the Latin students at James Clemens High School that completed the National Latin Exam. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – The Latin language is anything but ‘dead’ for its students at James Clemens High School.

This spring, all 37 Latin students at James Clemens took the National Latin Exam, teacher Peggy Boynton said. This pencil/paper test covers grammar, comprehension, mythology, derivatives, literature, Roman life, history, geography, oral Latin and Latin used today.

Students had 45 minutes to complete the 40-question, multiple-choice test.

The American and National Junior classical leagues sponsor the exam. By taking the exam, students experience personal accomplishment in their Latin study. Each student is evaluated on individual performance. (nle.org)

“The grammar section is the most difficult one,” Boynton said. “My students (felt) very confident in the other sections that focus more on application of knowledge and skills.”

Five James Clemens students rated cum laude (26-27 correct for Level 2), seven as magna cum laude or bronze (28-30) and one maxima cum Laude or silver (31-34).

Helen Lee earned a silver medal score and was the top Level-2 student. Shannon Gilstrap earned a bronze medal score as top Level-1 student.

“Participating in this exam helps the students to see that what they are doing in our classroom is equivalent to what students all around the globe are doing as they learn Latin and about ancient Roman culture,” Boynton said.

More than 154,000 students from 17 countries took the exam this year. “Madison students are standing proud with students everywhere, which boosts their confidence and motivates them to think globally,” she said.

In 2013, 18 James Clemens students took the National Latin Exam with seven award winners. Those numbers more than doubled this year with 37 students winning 13 awards — and four others missing an award by one point.

“Our program is growing. Students understand the value of learning Latin and tell me that it supports them immensely with their English language skills,” Boynton said.

In addition, students say Latin study helps when applying for college entrance and scholarships, gives a deeper understanding of other cultures and is a class they enjoy.

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