Dead, But Not Gone


Latin Teacher Matt Pikaard teaches Latin 3 students after a game of Blooket. Photo by Brayden Chen.

Diego Perez Palomino, Staff Reporter

Learning a second language is something that many students strive to acquire, as it can be incredibly helpful for commuting with people all around the world, as well as giving you an insight into other cultures. We offer a variety of different languages, spoken all over the world, however one offering, Latin, stands out from the rest. 

Latin teacher Matt Pikaard had an interest in the language for a long time, despite not taking it himself in high school. He wanted to give students the opportunity to learn about the dead language, which means….

“Obviously Latin differs from other languages, seeing as it’s dead, but it can be a really important fundamental for students who want to be lawyers or doctors,” Pikaard said.  “Or, for those just wanting to understand some of the reasoning behind English that was ignored when it was first taught to them.”

Despite having a smaller following, there is a lot of support and passion behind Latin. There are many reasons why new students should consider the class, even if they’ve had no past experience, or don’t plan on pursuing a career in which it could be useful. For example, Sophomore Jemuel Lee plans on studying in the engineering field, but is keen on taking Latin until senior year. 

“I feel like people think that others take Latin only because they want to be a doctor, or a writer, or whatever. But I think that people should really consider taking it  just because it’s an interesting language. We learn about so many different things, like mythology, and the history behind it,” said Lee. “It’s also just a really nice community of people, it’s small enough for everybody to know each other well.”

High school Latin has a sufficient number of students to hire a full time teacher, but at the  middle school, the numbers are too small to warrant a full time position.  The middle school’s Latin teacher, Phill Maxwell, retired last year, leaving Pikaard to temporarily fill his role. 

“Because Maxwell retired, I’ve been having to go down to the middle school and help out with the eighth grade classes, and I just don’t think it’s the most reliable solution,” Pikardd said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if next year they cut the language from the [middle school] curriculum entirely.”

Despite this sad possibility, sophomore Bradyen Chen feels that this won’t affect the number of students that decide to take it in high school. Chen has been taking Latin since seventh grade, having been able to learn under both Maxwell and Pikaard.

“I really don’t think that getting rid of middle school Latin will make a big difference in the amount of people wanting to Latin, because usually the people that want to take Latin in high school already know they want to take it.” Chen said. “The middle school classes were really just a way for the people still doubting the class, to test it out.”