Letter: Latin broadens the scope of learning

To the Editors:

In response to the letter written on Feb. 10 encouraging “the Board of Education to consider replacing French/German/Latin classes, which seem to have lost some of their relevance in the 21st Century, with courses such as Mandarin, advanced computer programming and current events, that have significant applications for globalization. Doing so would be fiscally responsible, and better prepare Wilton students for college and the real world,” I am writing on the subject of taking classes for their foundational work.

I am a rising junior in college and am constantly asked why I am majoring in a subject that is neither practical nor will guarantee me a job. My major is Classical Civilization. It consists of classes in which I translate Latin poets such as Vergil and Apuleius, and read Archaic Greek poets such as Sappho and Solon. It is a subject that is demanding, requires serious thinking, and a subject I am fully dedicated to learning about.

I started taking Latin with Max Gabrielson during my freshman year at Wilton High School. I quickly grew to love the grammatical structures and poetic verses of this dead language. His class cultivated my passion for ancient languages and civilizations in high school and at the college level. My time spent studying Latin has broadened my scope for learning because of its focus on a language that is at the core of our own English language, its roots within government, and its application to the sciences.

By studying Latin, I am providing myself with the building blocks to broaden my knowledge. It’s not that I don’t want to be practical with my education, but I want my education to be broad and deep. Latin has equipped me with a foundation to build upon in the real world. I highly value the practical skills it has provided for me, including critical thinking, analyzing, and writing. It is a subject that has thoroughly challenged my mind, body, and spirit. I encourage others to take classes that provide the same necessary skills.

Grace Williams

Wilton, May 22