With John K. Colby’s Latin Grammar and Buehner and Ambrose’s Preparatory Latin Iin my backpack, I boarded a Continental flight at Stapleton Airport (a few months before it closed) and started taking notes on Latin grammar in a notebook that would be my trusty guide for my first few years of teaching Latin.
I began memorizing declensions -- a task I loved. I would walk around the pond where my parents lived and recite the declensions. The first noun I studied was puella -- then, agricola; the last noun in the fifth declension was portus. Later, came verb conjugations -- six tenses in the active voice. Should I admit that I adored conjugating verbs, even though some of the explanations in the textbooks made no sense? Thanks to Chris’s sterling collection of Latin textbooks, I had two different copies of Jenny Latin-- yes, the Latin textbook that terrorized students for years. In fact, it was the explanation of forming some tenses with certain conjugations in Jenney that made me scratch my head, complete with moans of despair. The editions did not agree.
I worked for four to five hours a day on relearning Latin -- I had forgotten everything. There were flashes of “Oh, I remember that!” Not to mention, images of Brother Gregory Francis, my Latin teacher for three years. Excellent teacher. Demanding. Scary. Called Grendel by his students. The demon grim from Beowulf. Instilled in me a love for Latin.
Yet, I plowed through texts striving to find a hook that might make the language live for Graland students. By August 1 or so, I was exhausted by qui-quae-quod and hic-haec-hoc. Why did this damn language have so many pronoun forms? Yes, I knew the answer-- I wasn’t that dumb. Just convinced I could not meet the challenge. I did not know enough Latin. Welcome to Panic City. I was not Arthur Kent who established a formal Latin program began in 1950; He was a man whose name often would elicit reverence in the hearts of former students. Memories of two brilliant women who had taught Latin at the school-- Diana Wilson and Bev Noia.
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.