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MARILYN HAGERTY: High school students discover LITWAU

You can't escape it. Latin and the influence of the Romans and Greeks are all around us. If you look far enough, you find that Valentine's Day might even have roots back in Latin land. The ancient festival of Lupercalia is sometimes associated wi...

You can't escape it. Latin and the influence of the Romans and Greeks are all around us.

If you look far enough, you find that Valentine's Day might even have roots back in Latin land. The ancient festival of Lupercalia is sometimes associated with Valentine's Day.

It was celebrated a full month before the Ides of March. While this comes as a big surprise to me, it probably doesn't faze students of Latin in the Grand Forks high schools.

These students are asked by the teacher, Magistra Laurie Hollifield, to identify Latin in the World Around Us. She calls it LITWAU.

And the examples students come up with for LITWAU are far reaching.

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Claire Fenske, a senior at Red River, recently finished a list of LITWAU. She says the study of Latin is already helping her with abbreviations and terms she needs to be a Certified Nursing Assistant. And she will rely on her four years of Latin when she takes classes in the College of Nursing at UND.

She finds examples of LITWAU everywhere.

Claire, who is known as Anastasia in Latin classes, says Sarah Brightman's song, "In Paradisum," means into paradise and is all in Latin.

She also notes that Latin students from Fargo North High School are behind a bill in the North Dakota legislature seeking to establish a Latin motto for the state.

Four years of Latin at Central High School under Magistra Hollifield helped George DuBois at UND. There he studied more of the classics and used his knowledge of Latin to understand terms in biology. He is now a biology teacher at Red River and Central High Schools.

Victoria Remer, a sophomore at Red River, says some of her friends laughed at her for signing up to take a "dead" language. But she notes that Magistra Hollifield insists the language is immortal.

Victoria said she wanted it to help her in music classes and to help her score higher in ACT and SAT college entrance tests.

Beyond that she says Magistra Hollifield has shown her students that Latin is literally everywhere. And by doing LITWAU assignments she is aware of it.

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Hollifield often takes her students in the fall on tours of downtown Grand Forks. There they can see Latin and Greek influences in the architecture. They see it in the original section of Grand Forks City Hall, the Davies Federal Court building that was originally used as the post office. They have seen it in the exterior of the Grand Forks County Courthouse.

Victoria Remer said, "By being in Latin 11, I have gained good order and study habits from Magistra's quizzes. Also with the quizzes there is vocabulary and by knowing the Latin vocabulary I am able to piece together a lot of English words and meanings.

"With Latin comes order that we are all fond of in this class. Taking Latin helps in everyday activities."

. . . To all of this I say, "Amen."

Latin is one of the causes I have espoused in my years of writing columns. I also stand four square behind a marching band at UND, Mr. Goodbars in all candy machines, improvement of the Gateway entrance to Grand Forks and a pigeon in every pot.

Reach Marilyn Hagerty at mhagerty@gra.midco.net or 701-772-1055.

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