Why Study Latin? One Student's Response
Dear Mrs. Harness:
I finally got around to writing you this summer, and it's already the first day of class. It was a very busy summer for me. I worked at the Science Center of Iowa the entire summer, as a camp counselor. I had to devise "lesson plans" for the two camps that I was lead counselor for. I returned to Drake University, as a sophomore Biology/Pre-med student. It is looking to be an exciting year.
I went and got all my books and noticed some things in the introduction to my Comparative Anatomy textbook that will impress you. I was very pleased to see the references to Latin. Also, today I was pleased when I got to my Comparative Anatomy course and the teacher handed out two pages of a "Latin and Greek Lexicon." It's nice to not have to refer to the list as many times as other students, because of my prior Latin background. Attached to this letter is a copy of the first page of the introduction and the Lexicon. It makes me appreciate how wonderful my decision in 8th grade was to take Latin and then each subsequent year not to quit because it wasn't easy. I have found in this last year that knowing Latin has given me a boost in many of my classes, and almost on an everyday basis (not only in Science classes, but also in English).
You are one of those teachers that I will always remember: not because you were easy, or wanted to be everyone's friend, but because you made me work hard and learn things that someday I would want to know and with that you became my friend. I remember sitting in Latin 4, wondering why I wanted to translate some long translation, looking through three or four books to figure out the correct translation. Now, to this day, when I'm studying (especially for Biology) I will look through many books to see what they say about the subject, and if that's not enough I'm researching on the internet, so I can find the best understanding of the subject. Sure it may be a lot of extra work, but I learn a lot more, and it's all from you "molding" me into the student I am today. All the hard work with translations and vocabulary had paid off; let your students know that it is worth it to continue in their Latin career. It was my best high school decision. Thank you for everything you have done for me. Always keep in touch.
Angela Paulsen studied Latin with Mary Ann Harness at
Valley High School in West Des Moines.
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