CAMWS GULF REGION
1998 was a good year for classics in the Gulf Region. The state vice presidents, three of whom are new this year, submitted positive reports about programs and organizations in their states. As is usually the case, Texas showed the most activity, but this year good news came from every quarter of the region.
The new Vice President for Alabama, Kirk M. Summers, reports that classics is doing well in his state. Approximately sixty high schools are currently teaching Latin, with enrollments reaching two thousand students. The Junior Classical League is strong, and about four hundred students attended the JCL convention this year. The Alabama Classical Association also met in late January and continued to remain active. The association now offers a web page with information about classics in the state (http://bama.ua.edu/~tsummers/acapage.htm). Summers further notes that the University of Alabama will begin offering graduate courses in Latin in support of an alternative A certification and that Samford University is starting a new classics program so that it is now the second university in the state at which a degree in classics is available.
Scott E. Goins, Vice President for Lousiana, reports that classicists in his state continue to promote the field. The Lousiana Classical Association and the state Junior Classical League are thriving. The University of Northwestern Louisiana hosted the annual meeting of the LCA this past fall. Goins also notes that three state universities (McNeese State, Southwestern Louisiana, and Northwestern Louisiana) are considering plans to create a distance-learning consortium in Latin. This cooperative program would offer greater availability of upper level courses for students at universities where course offerings are limited.
This past year Robert Wolverton took over from Robert Moysey as Vice President for Mississippi. Wolverton has been active contacting CAMWS members and high school Latin teachers. He reports that twenty-three Latin programs exist in the public high school system. Although no exact count is available for private schools, it is estimated that there are twenty programs. The Mississippi Junior Classical League continued to enjoy support from public and private schools, although this year the numbers attending the annual convention in Biloxi were down. At the college level, nearly every university and college with classics programs reported increased enrollments in Latin and Greek.
The new Vice President for Texas, Robert W. Cape, reports that classics enrollments from the middle school to university levels remain excellent. The Texas Classical Association (TCA) held its annual meeting in Waco, October 29-31, in conjunction with the Southern Section of CAMWS. The state organization maintains a web site (http://www.txclassics.org/), which is edited by Ginny Lindzey. The site provides practical help for Latin teachers, including tips on how to prepare for the Latin Examination for the Certification of Educators in Texas and the Advanced Placement Latin test. The material devoted to the AP test will be of special interest to classics teachers in all states.
According to Cape, the TCA is also taking steps to address the issue of finding qualified replacements for retiring Latin teachers in the state. The association is working informally to identify the programs that will be hardest hit and to find possible sources for new teachers. Cape notes that several opportunities for summer classics courses are offered to teachers within Texas. The University of Dallas and The University of Texas at Austin regularly offer such courses; Texas Tech University has a unique program combining Latin and Spanish ("Latin and Spanish Together in the High School Classroom").
Finally, Cape adds that this year two museum exhibitions will interest teachers and students of antiquity. The Kimball Museum in Fort Worth is offering an exhibit about ancient Egypt, while the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum in Austin is offering a program entitled "The Flight of Icarus", which includes student poems and artwork about the theme of Icarus.
So, for 1998 the news here has been encouraging. Although some problems lie on the horizon, efforts are underway to meet the challenges. Classics programs at all levels seem to be growing or at least to be holding their own. State organizations, where they exist, continue to do an excellent job of maintaining contact with classicists and providing support to teachers.