CAMWS SOUTHEAST REGION
The promotion of Latin has continued in a strong and steady fashion this year in the Southeast Region of CAMWS (Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina). While the regional vice-president has changedJeff Buller of Georgia Southern University took over this year from the very dynamic Rick LaFleur of the University of GeorgiaCAMWS was fortunate to retain all three of last years excellent state vice-presidents: Hans-Friedrich Mueller of Florida, Keith Dix of Georgia, and Cathy Castner of South Carolina.
In Florida, Dr. Mueller sent out mass e-mailings of CAMWS membership information in September of 1998, including application materials and informational bulletins. This packet was sent to the membership of the Classical Association of Florida (CAF)mostly high school teachers, to graduate students at Florida State University, and to colleagues in other universities in the state of Florida. Dr. Mueller also attended the annual joint meeting of the Florida Foreign Language Association and CAF in Tampa in October of 1998. At that meeting, he had the opportunity to outline for those in attendance CAMWS scholarship programs, while distributing informational brochures and CAMWS application materials. Dr. Mueller notes that teachers were very pleased to receive copies of the CPLs promotional brochures on Latin.
Also in the fall of 1998, Florida States Latin Bulletin, a newsletter which is mailed to every high school teacher of Latin in the state of Florida, included all relevant CAMWS membership information, application materials, and informational bulletins, as well as copies of the CPLs promotional brochures. During the course of the fall term, the state vice-president in Florida urged graduate students to consider giving papers at the upcoming CAMWS meeting in Cleveland, Ohio. Distance seems to have been a factor in preventing more than a handful from applying this year (as opposed to last year when five graduate students made it onto the program). Nevertheless, the institution had four students on the program of the Southern Section Meeting in Waco.
Jim Sickinger, a Greek historian at Florida State (with whom the regional vice president participated in a delightful summer session at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens in 1988), will make his first appearance ever on a CAMWS program this year in Cleveland. This means that Florida State has had every faculty member of its classics department on a CAMWS program except for their bronze age archaeologist and their Greek archaeologist.
High school teachers in Florida did avail themselves of applications for CPL funds this year, and CPL approved a $200 grant to help organizers of the upcoming NJCL convention in Orlando in April bring in a motivational speaker for their high school students. The state vice-president recently mailed reminder letters to delinquent members, urging them to renew their CAMWS memberships. Finally, Florida State University will be the site of this years National Junior Classical League Convention.
In Georgia, both the classics in general and Latin in particular appear to be in excellent health. When a high school in Cobb County was unable to replace its retiring Latin teacher, it was front-page news in the local newspaper; and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution covered the plight of a transfer student in Fayette County who had to take Latin by correspondence course because Fayette does not yet offer Latin. Both articles pointed to the apparent shortage of qualified Latin teachers. Dr. LaFleur, who runs the Placement Service for the Georgia Classical Association and notes that the service typically lists about twenty positions a year, reports the following: "This past year most available positions were filled, but not all, and some were filled only with great difficulty. The bottom line is that there are still shortages of well-qualified Latin teachers in Georgia and in most areas around the country."
The Georgia Classical Association (GCA) is a vigorous organization which holds several meetings a year on its own and in conjunction with other state foreign language organizations, publishes a newsletter, and has its own scholarship, Teacher of the Year, and Student of the Year programs. GCA has made the state vice-president for CAMWS a member ex officio of the Executive Board, and at every GCA meeting Dr. Dix has the opportunity to tout the advantages of CAMWS membership and to urge the members of GCA to apply for CAMWS scholarships and awards and CPL grants.
Georgia members of CAMWS were well-represented at the 1998 annual meeting in Charlottesville: three students from the Lovett School in Atlanta taught by Kenneth Rau were recognized in the College Awards competition; J. R. Parker, a Classics major at UGA, received a Manson Stewart Scholarship, and Stephen Self, also a Classics major at UGA, was an alternate for the scholarship; Elizabeth Kann, a graduate student at UGA, received the Semple Award to attend the summer program at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens; and Danetta Genung, formerly a high school Latin teacher in North Carolina and now a graduate student at UGA, received a Manson Stewart Travel award to attend the Charlottesville meeting and a Training award to obtain certification.
Looking ahead, the Southern Section of CAMWS has accepted an invitation from the Classics Department at UGA to hold its fall 2000 meeting in Athens, Georgia. One other particular bright spot to point out this year is that the UGA chapter of Eta Sigma Phi is hosting the National Convention this April. Dr. Dix reports that his greatest worry as state vice-president is the apparent decline in CAMWS membership in Georgia. In the last decade, membership has ranged from a low of 65 in 1989 to a high of 86 in 1997 (a spike perhaps due in part to the very successful Southern Section meeting in Savannah), but now seems to have slipped back into the low 70's.
To remedy this, Dr. Dix has increased his mailing list to over 400 names, including a complete roster of high school Latin teachers (according to the state Department of Education). Each fall he sends everyone on the list a packet with a membership application, information on CAMWS scholarships and awards, and information on upcoming CAMWS meetings.
New activities promoting Latin in South Carolina this year included theatre productions and workshops in Columbia by the Aquila Theatre Company of London. This very successful company, directed by classicist Peter Meineck, has recently been company-in-residence at the University of South Carolina. This year they have presented to enthusiastic audiences Meinecks stage adaptation of Homers Odyssey, as well as traveling to area high schools with workshops on classical drama.
As of September 1, Furman Universitys Classics Department split from Modern Languages to become a separate department (chaired by Anne Leen) after more than twenty years of merged status. Other faculty include Richard Prior (Latin) and Chris Blackwell (Greek). Now the only Classics Department in the state, Furman has added an interdisciplinary concentration in Classical Studies which consists of five courses from eight participating departments. They continue to offer their majors in Latin and in Greek, and to certify students to teach Latin at the secondary school level. Another Furman activity successful at promoting Latin is the Saturday Seminar in Classics. Usually held in the fall, it was held this year during the spring; the day of seminars features Furman Classics professors providing teachers introductions to various interesting topics.
A new resource for classicists in South Carolina will be available by the end of spring semester 1999. Kathleen Ross, President of the South Carolina Classical Association, is constructing a web page for the Association. Replacing the now-defunct state newsletter, this will be an efficient way to post announcements of CAMWS and ACL grants and scholarships, and provide links to the CAMWS homepage and the homepage of the state Foreign Language Association. Dr. Castner reports that there is also a plan to list notices of summer courses on the web site, as well as providing information about jobs and JCL.
Ongoing efforts to promote Latin in South Carolina include participating, whenever possible, in the activities of state Foreign Language Associations. To that end, Dr. Castner along with Kathleen Ross, President of the S.C. Classical Association, conducted a sessions at the South Carolina Foreign Language Teachers Association (SCFLTA, February 26-27) exploring, among other topics, how the new governors emphasis on education can be directed to the benefit of classics. Some proposals include writing a group letter to the new Superintendent of Education stressing the value of Latin for the improvement of elementary school English reading levels and SAT scores.
Again this October the University of South Carolina hosted Classics Day. The top high school Latin students in the state visited the University for a day of taking classes, touring the campus, and speaking with USC faculty and administrators. Also at the University of South Carolina, the 1999 Belser lecture on March 4 was given by Michael C. J. Putnam of Brown University. His topic was "Virgil and History." The lecture, named after Irvin Furman Belser, one of the states most eminent citizens well-known for his love of the Classics, brought together university and secondary levels classicists.
This year, South Carolina JCL was successful in securing CPL funds from CAMWS for the purchase of a much-needed certamen machine. Although the full purchase price was not funded, SCJCL received assurances from CPL that if funds are available this year, the difference may be made up. The SCJCL Forum was held on March 27 at Berkeley High School in Moncks Corner.
One challenge in South Carolina has been the cutting of Latin from the upper high school grades, precisely where it raises SAT scores and provides impetus to continue Latin in college or university to fulfill the language requirement. Related to this problem is the class size limit imposed on all classes at some schools; it militates against a higher-grade Latin (3 or 4) classs "making," as it is unrealistic to expect, say, 20 students to sign up for advanced Latin. The result is that too many students spend two years doing the hard work of learning the grammar, and then are not able to go on to enjoy the literature. In a related problem at a number of schools students cannot take Latin beyond the ninth and tenth grades (Latin 1 and 2). Demands for them to take other subjects and to do well on statewide testing (which emphasizes other subjects) often push Latin to a "back burner."
Although Latin continues to hold its own in public schools throughout South Carolina, the popularity and strong public support for more "business-relevant" modern spoken languages continue to erode enrollments. Japanese has picked up greatly in the state. Some high schools in Greenville are providing "immersion" programs in which students spend half their time working in Spanish, half in English. In addition, exploratory programs in grades 6, 7, and 8 are losing their Latin component, party because the new emphasis on testing targets reading, writing and mathematics; thus the money flows to these subjects, and what is left over is likely to be directed to explorations in modern foreign languages.
Block scheduling continues to be a controversial issue for South Carolina high school Latin Programs. Although some teachers feel some teachers feel threatened by block scheduling, as students attention spans for learning new grammatical constructions last for only a small part of the expanded class time, AP teachers seem to like the extended hours. The greatest threat to Latin in the states public schools is that they cannot find certified Latin teachers. To deal with this problem, Ward Briggs of the University of South Carolina has designed an M.T. degree (Masters in Teaching) in Latin, expected to be in place for 1999-2000. This program will allow USCs Classics Program to produce certified Latin teachers in five years (an undergraduate major in Latin with an education minor).