Latin students face crucial test


Rebekah Porter

Sophomore Hanna Dannar works on her writing assignment for Latin II.

During the week before Spring Break, Latin students all over the world will take the National Latin Exam to test how much Latin they have learned during their studies.

“The National Latin Exam is taken throughout the world by well over 150,000-175,000 students at all levels, intro through advanced Latin,” Latin instructor Melanie Folkerts said. “However, you’re not being judged against the other students. Every year they write this exam and they decide what the rankings are and where the score falls and you’re basically challenging yourself to see how much Latin you can do.”

Folkerts said the exam could be taken anytime during the week if the school is doing regular examination time. Schools could also choose to take the test a week early. Hays High is taking it on Monday, March 12.

Not every student ranks, those that do can get one of four possible rankings, an Honorable Mention, Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and finally Summa Cum Laude.

“Once you hit a rank it’s a really good job on the test,” Folkerts said. “You’ve done pretty well to hit honorable mention. If you rank in those top three you are eligible for scholarships when it comes your senior year and whatever your rank, it looks excellent on your resume to say that you rank this on the National Latin Exam.”

Students in Latin I and Latin II take the test. Students taking Latin II have the opportunity to improve their score from the previous year.

“I have not taken the exam before,” sophomore Amy Nyguyen said. “I don’t typically prepare for exams or tests, so I’d have to say that I’m not preparing for it currently. My goal would be to pass it, but I guess I’ll just see how it goes.”

Junior Loganne Ditter is taking Latin II and hopes to improve her score.

“I took the exam last year, and I didn’t think it was too bad,” junior Loganne Ditter said. “My score wasn’t great, so I hope I can improve this year.”

Students can choose to use their classwork to study or use the National Latin Exam website. Their website provides study guides and booklets to help students prepare.

“It’s just a kind of overall,” Folkerts said. “The students have no idea what specifically will be asked, but the study guide gives them a good general idea of what things they need to prep for. You don’t have to go out and learn something new, you just have to refresh and look over things that you should have already learned by the point the test is given.”

Freshman Kassandra Zimmer said she planned to study her review book she received from Folkerts and go over notes she took in class.

“It’s not going to penalize them in any way,” Folkerts said. “It’s not a grade in the course. It’s a chance for them to exercise their Latin and have an outside entity say ‘Hey, good job.’ And you know those scholarship opportunities aren’t bad either. “

Students will have 40 minutes to take the test. They will be dismissed from their M2 class at the end of the period and will have seminar to complete the test.

“We could do it either way [paper or computer],” Folkerts said. “We’ve chosen to do it on paper because during seminar, we know there’s a lot of computer use, and we don’t want to have the server go down or something when we’re doing it, so we’re on paper still.”

Students will find out their results in late April or early May when the scores are mailed to the schools.

“I want to thank the Hays High Administration, they actually fund this for the students, so the students don’t have to pay the fee to take the exam,” Folkerts said. “We make sure it’s free for the Latin students to take. So big thank you to Mr. Straub who always finds us that $5 per exam.”