LAKE MICHIGAN REGION
1) Report from Illinois (Vicki Wine,
The annual conference of the Illinois
Classical Conference (ICC) was hosted by Monmouth College in October, 2002.
Some new initiatives, some new members, and an attentive host combined for a
pleasant and engaging weekend.
ICC continues to support Latin contest, JCL, Certamen League, and scholarship
awards. The organization’s website (www.illinoisclassics.org),
helps to disseminate news, disperse information, and dispense forms.
This summer the Illinois State Board of Education hosted a language immersion
program, coinciding with a virtual classroom seminar. A group of ten attended
the Latin program and had a busy and enlightening day and a half of Latin
conversation led by Professor John Traupman.
Promotional activities have kept Latin alive and prominent. Chicago Classical
Club maintains a luncheon meeting with a speaker three times a year. Monmouth
College supports an archeology lecture series and numerous other speakers and
events. A reading of Homer will take place in early March at both Monmouth
College and Knox College. Augustana College and Loyola University sponsor
activities as well.
Illinois members of CAMWS were honored with several awards at the CAMWS meeting
in April. Sherrilyn Martin of Keith Country Day School of Rockford was
recognized for the outstanding project funded by the Committee for the Promotion
of Latin in 2001-2002. Her project was a survey of school counselors in a
three-state region about Latin as a preparation for college. Also, Christine
Ayers of Monmouth was one of the first recipients of CAMWS’ new Service Award.
In addition, Tom Sienkewicz was the recipient of an Ovatio at the Presidential
Banquet. Furthermore, several students were recognized for their performance on
the 2002 CAMWS School Awards Examination.
The Latin pedagogy workshop which has run for eight years at National-Louis
University in Evanston had to be canceled in 2002 due to low enrollment.
Scheduling during another conference might have been a contributing factor, and
those who had enrolled were very disappointed, but the workshop could not be
supported financially without a minimum enrollment. It will be offered again in
the summer of 2003.
Several inquiries from CAMWS members have been made about job prospects in
Illinois. Monmouth H.S. is in the process of interviewing candidates for the
next school year, to replace the current teacher who will retire. As far as is
known, Morningside Christian School in Rock Island would still like to
have a teacher who will continue to increase the program as a new level is added
each year. (Latin is currently offered grade 3/4 through grade 8.) Kenwood High
School in Chicago is looking for a new teacher. Teaching positions have survived
with replacements. The programs at Barrington High and Middle School were saved
due in part to the strong response from the community of classicists.
The Latin certification program initiated by National-Louis University seems to
have died, but people are talking with other schools to continue this goal.
NLTRW activities in Illinois included a recruitment event organized by ICC
President Laurie Jolicoeur at Illinois JCL in February. Latin teachers who had
parented other Latin teachers were asked to stand and be recognized along with
the former students (now teachers). At least three such pairs were present at
JCL. NLTRW bookmarks contributed by the Monmouth College Classics Dept. were
distributed to all 300 JCL participants.
Monmouth College celebrated
NLTRW in a variety of ways. In addition to distributing NLTRW bookmarks to JCL
students and to students at Monmouth and Pekin High Schools, Tom Sienkewicz
visited all the education classes at the college to talk about the advantages of
adding Latin certification. All of the advanced Latin students, as well as
several of the elementary Latin students were also encouraged, individually, to
consider a career in Latin teaching. Tom Sienkewicz and a student spoke at Pekin
High School about Latin teaching and another MC student discussed NLTRW at
Monmouth High School. Tom Sienkewicz was also interviewed about NLTRW by a local
public radio station.
2) Report from Indiana (Martha Payne, State VP)
Indiana high school teachers remain very dedicated. Here are various events
arranged by school:
South Vigo HS, Terre Haute
Mary Steppe, teacher, reports that: JCL is very active, hosting 4th graders from
a local school for several Latin days. Some of the activities included Simon
Dicit (“Simon Says”); modeling of Roman dress; practicing derivatives. During
cadet teaching Latin students taught 4 elementary classes with teachers as
mentors. HS students will take National Latin Exam, & National Medusa Exam.
North Central HS, Indianapolis
Teacher Steve Perkins reports
that: Latin 1-4/5 is taught, students are in NJCL Latin Honor Society and they
take the National Latin Exam and Medusa Mythology exam; 92 members in Indiana
Junior Classical League.
ICC Resource Center VII
Bernie Barcio reports a successful Latin
Day in October, 2002 at Jay County Fairgrounds in Portland, CA, 800 Latin
students & teachers from Indiana. Special Event: Live horse Ludi Circenses
-Indiana Chariot and Cutter Racing Association. Students got to see biga and
quadriga chariots raced and three heats in which Red, White, Blue & Green
teams raced in smaller ludi circenses chariots. Finale was a
demonstrating “what it must have
been like to see German barbarian families fleeing the battle field in the
wagons after watching their foot soldier relatives be defeated by the Romans,”
as the race track announcer said.
Diana Garner, teacher, reports 4 years of Latin and active participation in
Indiana JCL. Latin students take care of paper recycling at the HS and sponsor
a semi-formal dance; Later in the year 1st year students will make bees wax
tablets; 2nd year students will make a copy of a Roman mosaic, and 3rd and 4th
year students will make Roman design jewelry. As this report goes to press, this
program is in danger of elimination due to an unenlightened superintendent and
CAMWS CPL is organizing a letter-writing campaign to save the program.
Mt. Vernon HS, Mount Vernon,
At Judy Grebe’s school Latin 1 & 2
are offered, but 3 & 4 are combined. Some fear about the enrollment for next
year. Incoming 8th graders were not allowed to have a convocation with Mr.
Bernie Barcio this year. The reason given was that Jr. High staff voted to limit
interruptions due to state academic proficiency requirements. I-STEP (Indiana
HS exit exam) affects number of periods students have for electives. Not as many
students are attending competition this coming spring.
North Lawrence HS, Bedford, IN
Jo Stuckey, North Lawrence’s teacher, has 4 years of Latin and a Latin Club
involved in social and community services:
Bloomington North HS, Bloomington, IN
Lucy Robie participated in the ‘Indiana Latin Week’ - students made posters
or dressed dolls. Bernie Barcio presented “Fabius the Tribune”; advanced &
beginning food classes prepared food for Roman banquet & did the serving. This
was an in-school field trip: The Latin students wore Roman costumes & the
Bloomington South HS students were guests, Lucy plans on sponsoring an activity
at the Jr. High in 2003 to get students interested in Latin before they start
signing up for classes for next Fall.
Indiana-University-Purdue University at
Bob Sutton reports that a new
Individualized Studies Major Program has five students hoping to complete majors
in a variety of Classical Studies areas, including one with a Latin
concentration and another in Classical Archaeology. Twelve courses are regularly
offered: Latin, art and archaeology, classical civilization, history,
philosophy. Also available are possibilities of studying overseas. Since the
program in classical studies began in 1990, three students have continued in
graduate work in classical archaeology and ancient history and are making
contributions to the field.
William Hanson says the Classics program
is going well with some students studying in Athens or Rome as part of their
John Kirby is designing and teaching new
courses at Purdue: upper level Latin literature; “The Ancient World Onscreen”
and is active in Purdue’s Study Abroad Program. Nicholas Rauh is continuing his
work in Turkey with an archaeological survey in Rough Cilicia. This work is
funded in part through a grant from the National Science Foundation. Some
Purdue students participate in the work.
Indiana Classical Conference
The newsletter of the Indiana Classical
Conference, “Latiniana” is now available on line:
Baker-Schneider of Seymour HS is the editor. The ICC met in conjunction with the
Indiana Foreign Language Teachers’ Association meeting in November. It is time
to elect a new president and no one wishes to volunteer for the position. If no
one is found at the time of the spring meeting, the ICC may have to disband.
There will be an IJCL trip to Italy for Latin teachers and students in the
The problem with Latin at Castle HS in Southern Indiana
was brought up at a recent meeting of ICC. An active Latin program has been
down-sized because the principal says he could not find a good replacement
teacher. A teacher was called out of retirement to teach one or 2 classes, but
after this academic year, the school plans to drop Latin. Tom Sienkewicz of the CPL has talked to the teacher
and to one or two parents. M. Payne wrote letters to the school board members
and the principal and encouraged those at the ICC meeting to write as well; M.
Payne provided the addresses at the ICC meeting.
3) Report from Michigan (Mark
Williams, State VP)
We begin with a sad note. Our
colleague and friend Mary Jo LaPlante passed away March 1, 2003. She was
58 years old. An educator for 35 years, she spent the last 14 years teaching
Latin and Mythology at West Ottawa High School in Holland, Mich., where she
retired in 2001. An avid traveler, she led many student trips abroad since the
1970s. She was also an administrator for the Michigan Junior Classical League
for many years, helping promote the study of Latin and the Classics in schools.
She was educated at Kalamazoo Central High School and earned her Master’s Degree
at the University of Michigan. She will be missed.
Most high school and middle school programs in Michigan seem to be holding their
own; some are expanding, and a few seem endangered. On the positive side,
Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills) has put in Latin as a requirement
for the new Boys’ Middle School; they may also ask the teacher to also reinstate
Latin in the Girls’ High School. At the University of Detroit Jesuit High
School Latin is thriving under the tutelage of Nick Young and John
Feeney, with 160 students. In addition, Nick was highlighted in the
2001/2002 teachers’ guide for the PBS NOVA series about the Roman Baths and in
June he was named Detroit area classics teacher of the year by the Detroit
Classical Association. Feeney and Young were highlighted in an article about
the resurgence of Latin in the April 26, 2002 issue of
pictures even! Two schools that ended their Latin programs last year, West
Ottawa HS (near Holland, MI) and the Forest Hills Public Schools (a suburb of
Grand Rapids), both of which were the subjects of national letter-writing
campaigns, are now said to be considering the reintroduction of Latin, although
no final decisions have been made yet. In the meantime, several Forest Hills
students are driving to East Grand Rapids High School to continue their Latin;
several others are dually enrolled in area colleges.
There is ample evidence of
creativity in Michigan Latin classrooms. In rural Newago County, Carol
Korenstra began teaching Latin several years ago for six students
county-wide. Now, using distance learning, she attracted nineteen students at
the beginning of the year. Sue Millar (East Grand Rapids) is teaching an
after-school Latin class for six middle school students under the auspices of
the EGR Recreation Department (surely a first!); she is also planning a summer
school Latin Camp through the EGR Recreation Department.
Meanwhile, in Kalamazoo Frank Cody
writes, “My biggest worry right now is that with the budget going south my small
Latin program, probably at a school with the oldest continuous Latin program in
the state of Michigan or one of the oldest, might not survive. Typically, I get
about 20 students into Latin I. This year I have seven in Latin 2, nine in
Latin 3, and two in Latin 4, all taught in the same period. I am fortunate to
have an intern this year to do Latin 2. Once we are able to get students from
Latin 1 to 2, they show a great perseverance in the program, but getting them
through Latin 1 and wanting to take Latin 2 is sometimes difficult. The
assistant principal takes a rather mechanical approach to whether a course will
go or not, and I think it will become only more so as we plan for next year.
Less than twenty students enrolling is the measure as to whether a course is
retained or not. I also have a concern when I retire within the next five years
about the survival of the program. I currently spend the rest of my school day
teaching in my other major, social studies.”
The Michigan Classical
Conference is trying to put together a master list of Latin programs at all
educational levels in the state, complete with email addresses. It is hoped
that we will be able to support one another by orchestrating quick-response
letter writing campaigns whenever we hear of an endangered program. Last year
we responded to the threatened closures of programs in Ottawa County and Forest
Hills after the final decisions had been all but made; in the future we will try
to move more quickly and effectively.
Colleges and Universities
The big news at the college/university level in Michigan is the
astounding growth of the University of Michigan’s undergraduate program. This
program has grown to well over a hundred majors, which makes the rest of us
wonder what they have put in the water in Ann Arbor. Kudos to Deborah
Pennell Ross and any others who have obviously put a lot of effort into
The program at Calvin College
remains relatively strong, with about 35 to 40 majors in an average year; most
of these are students who choose a field in classics as a second major, to
complement a pre-professional program, although others are majoring in classics
because they see it as practical preparation for graduate studies in ancient
philosophy, ancient and medieval history, librarianship and other such fields.
At Michigan State the department (Romance and Classical
Languages) has split into two new departments (Spanish & Portuguese) and French,
Classics, and Italian. In Classics there is a fourth faculty member, Bradley
Buszard, visiting this year, and a new tenure stream colleague from Religious
Studies, Chris Frilingos. Latin enrollments are high and way over subscribed in
the fall. The annual course on Greek Mythology regularly enrolls around 250
students. Greek has, as always, small numbers, but several students went on to
graduate school last year, and one is going into a top Ph.D. program next year.
There is also an on-line course in elementary Latin.
The new classics department at Grand Valley State University goes from strength
to strength; GVSU has hired several new instructors and now boasts a department
of five. Michele Valerie Ronnick of Wayne State University was the recipient of
an Ovatio given with much animation by James May at the CAMWS Presidential
In summary, we have much to be thankful for in Michigan classics, but we
also have areas of concern about which we must be vigilant. Students and
friends of the classics in Michigan are grateful for the support of CAMWS, ACL,
JCL and related organizations.