Willow Middle Schoolers Excel in 2019 National Latin Exam

by | May 10, 2019 | Homepage News

Congratulations to our middle school Latin students, who did an excellent job on the National Latin Exam this year! This year, our Latin students were joined by over 139,000 others from all 50 states and 20 foreign countries. Willow students’ results are outstanding! Our class averages are well above national averages, and 23 of the 27 students who took the exam won prizes.

Willow’s seventh grade class took the Introduction to Latin exam. The class averaged a 36 out of 40, compared to the national average of 30 out of 40. All of our participating seventh graders won a prize, with eleven Grade 7 students winning purple ribbons for Outstanding Achievement, and three winning Achievement Certificates. Way to go, Grade 7!

Eighth graders took the Latin I exam and also outperformed the national average, with a class average of 31 out of 40 compared to the national average of 27 out of 40. Wow! Grade 8 students earned six gold medals, one silver medal, one magna cum laude, and one cum laude distinction. We’re so proud of you all for challenging yourselves with this difficult exam.

Willow middle schoolers have a history of excelling at the National Latin Exam. At Willow, students develop strong communication skills and learn to master the English language through our robust language program, which includes world languages and Latin.

Seventh graders pose with their awards.

Why Latin?

As middle school students study Latin, they gain a deeper understanding of English and other languages. This new perspective is an invaluable guide as they pursue the mastery of English and hone their communication skills. Through Latin, students develop the listening, reading, writing, and vocabulary skills necessary for effective and precise communication.

“Studying Latin makes our students better readers and writers by tuning their eyes and ears to linguistic subtleties and nuances,” said Willow’s Latin teacher and middle school director, Sarah Miller. “Consequently, they become more intentional with their own use of language as it pertains to word choice, tense selection, and parallel structure.”

“Studying Latin also develops problem solving skills and independent thinking,” Miller said. “Because English sentence structure does not model Latin’s, Latin cannot be understood if merely read from left to right. In Latin, the verb is often the final word in a sentence. Solving the puzzle of everything that comes before the verb requires methodical decoding and logic.”

Students study Latin in all three middle school years, starting in sixth grade. Willow’s language program is integrated closely with their studies in other subjects, particularly in social studies projects such as the sixth grade’s Tour of Ancient Rome and art, where students creatively express their understanding of Latin and the cultures associated with the ancient language.

“Alumni interested in science and law will appreciate their familiarity with the Latinate nomenclature utilized by these disciplines,” Miller said, adding that all students benefit from the program. “Whether Willow’s alumni continue to study Latin in high school or choose to pursue another language, they will benefit from a strong grammatical and structural foundation.”

Learn more about Willow’s middle school program, and the critical role Latin and world languages play in our curriculum, here.

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