Since Sawney Webb's time, the study of Latin has been appreciated and respected at the Webb School. Even though Latin is considered a "dead" language (it has no living native speakers), we believe that its study is important as a gateway to understanding the roots of Western Civilization as well as the impact of the Latin language and the Roman Empire on the English language and Western culture. Studying Latin allows students to improve their critical thinking skills, grow as readers and writers, and examine the world around them with eyes focused on the significant relationships between the past and the present. In short, Latin class is at once a language, history, sociology, art appreciation, and writing seminar!
At Webb, the study of the Latin language itself is central; students focus on attaining reading proficiency in Latin and understanding the important connections between Latin and modern languages, especially English. Nonetheless, emphasis is also placed on gaining a summary understanding of the whole span of Latin literature and Roman/European history and art up through the early modern period. These topics serve as a means for students to develop their reasoning skills, writing ability, and collaborative proficiency as they work in teams to read, write, and consider significant questions concerning human values and big ideas. Through Latin, we embrace Webb's mission "…to turn out young people who are tireless workers and who know how to work effectively; who are accurate scholars, who know the finer points of morals and practice them in their daily living; who are always courteous."
Every day, as students enter the classroom, they walk beneath a poster with the Latin words for reason and virtue (ratio et virtus). These two words succinctly state the goals of our study. For an excellent article summarizing the benefit of humanities courses such as Latin, click here. (NB: I am aware this link may not be working for all, especially outside of TN; it will hopefully be fully operational soon!)
College admissions people have also spoken to the Texas Classical League about how THEY regard Latin. This website is really directed at teachers, but click here to see what college admissions counselors think when they see Latin on your transcript. They like it, they really like it!
On this site, you will find all of the files and resources for Ms. Northrup's Latin classes as well as an overview of the significant skills learned in each unit or lesson. It also contains student projects and pictures of Latinists at work. Click on your class at the left to enter.
Thank you for choosing Latin!