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MARILYN HAGERTY: ‘Dead language’ alive and well

Nobody asks me, but I go around telling students within hearing range they ought to take Latin.

I am thinking on Good Friday about a language that goes back through the ages. I am thinking of Jason Hawley who teaches Latin at Red River High School. One of his favorite sayings is, “Labor vingit omnia.”

That is, “Labor conquers all.”

Hawley is relatively new in Grand Forks. He teaches more than 70 students in three Latin classes at Red River. In addition, Laurie Hollifield has 31 Latin students at Central High School.

When students ask about their homework, Hollifield is likely to reply, “Omnia et plus.” That means “everything and more.” And she believes it’s a good motto for life.

Latin seems to be alive and well in the Grand Forks schools. There was a time when it faltered for lack of teachers of the ancient language.

This spring, students of Latin are looking forward to Latin Days at Concordia College in Moorhead. That’s May 15 and 16.

And 16 students of Latin will be going with the teachers to explore Italy and France this summer.

Language is flourishing in the city schools with more students taking French, German or Spanish. Still the Latin students have reasons.

Hollifield knows that Latin has lived through the Dark Ages and it never dies. She teaches her students to find it in everyday life. Hawley notes that students planning to study law or medicine want to take Latin. And knowledge of Latin is known to help raise scores on ACT and SAT testing for college scholarships.

Some are looking for something different when they go into the study of Latin. They like to delve in the origin of words and of an ancient culture.

Egg scramble

The weekend of Easter arrives with “Last of the Boys” off and running at the downtown Fire Hall Theatre. … And an Easter Egg Scramble this afternoon followed by an Easter egg hunt Saturday morning at the Alerus. … Grand Forks schools are on recess today for the Easter break. … And there’s a free movie for kids Saturday afternoon at the Grand Forks Public Library.

Ask Marilyn

Q. What do you wonder about on Good Friday?

A. I wonder how long to boil eggs and when the last snowdrift will disappear. I wonder if we have too many crows flying around Grand Forks. And I wonder if we sent enough money in to the government so that they will let the U.S. Post Office continue to deliver mail on Saturday.

Diane and Roger

Cheerful persons of the week: Diane Sherlock and Roger Dykstra.

Reach Marilyn Hagerty at or by telephone at (701) 772-1055.