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Latin students partake in the National Latin Exam

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Every year, students from all over the world who are engaged in Latin get the opportunity to participate in the National Latin Exam.

Over 150,000 students possibly 160,000 take the exam each year said Latin instructor Melanie Folkerts. The exam itself is very formal and is taken seriously.

“It is a very highly monitored test,” Folkerts said.  “As their teacher, I’m not even able to handle the test. We had to have someone else who was in there who was officially giving the test. I could be in there to help monitor or I could and out pencils, I can sign their passes. It’s a very official test.”

This exam’s goal is not to have students trying to beat or compete against one another, but instead use as much knowledge as they have to score as well as possible.

“It (the exam) basically just registers where they fit, how well are they doing in Latin,” Folkerts said. “They are not competing against each other. They are competing against the test because however high they score, there is a base line and it shows how they rank.”

From the school, there were 18 students who took the exam.

“Of those 18, almost all of them were at least were in the middle of the pack or above average for the scores,” Folkerts said. “That really tells me that the program that we use does a good job of getting the Latin out to them and the kids are doing a good job of learning it.”

While the students have a good understanding of the language, unlike other languages, you do not necessarily become fluent in Latin.

“It is very hard to be fluent in a language that is dead,” Folkerts said. “It just means that they have a good grasp of the grammar structures and the verb conjugations and the noun declinations. Latin is a very, very complex language. One noun can have six different endings depending on how it’s used, whether it’s a direct object or a subject, and they learn hundreds of nouns and verbs. Every verb ending is different depending on whether its present of past or past perfect or future.”

Having most of her students hit the point of or exceeding average is an accomplishment for Folkerts.

“I can’t speak for the years before, but this is the highest ranking I’ve had in the years I’ve been teaching Latin,” Folkerts said. “But again, I am proud of all my students and the fact that they can say they are average or above average in the world of Latin.”

For a preview of the test and results of those Hay High students who placed watch here.

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