Broughton says vale to Latin program

   After 31 years of teaching at Broughton, it is with a sad heart that Latin teacher Jennifer Cates is saying vale to the Latin program in June.

   Throughout recent decades, the Latin program has yielded a closely knit community of classical scholars. But after the 2017-2018 school year, Broughton will no longer offer this language per a Wake County Public School System decision.

  “There are two main reasons. First of all, two years ago Wake County made us a Magnet School for Global Studies and Dual Immersion, and modern language is the focus of global society rather than language that’s not actively spoken. Also, there’s budget,” Spanish teacher and World Languages department chair R.L. Andrews said.

  Latin began phasing out two years ago when Broughton stopped offering Latin 1. Students who were already taking Latin are able to finish their courses by taking both Latin 3 and 4 as an everyday block class this year. Additionally, IB students took Latin 3 everyday in the fall and then IB Latin everyday in the spring semester. By the 2018-2019 school year, no Latin classes will be offered.

  Students across the school are beginning to feel the effects of these changes.

  “It’s really sad because it’s been such a big part of our lives for all of high school, and we had a great time getting to know Dea,” senior Anna Thome said.

  “Dea” is Latin teacher Jennifer Cates’s affectionate nickname from her students. Latin for “goddess,” a students assigned her the nickname 20 years ago, and it stuck. Cates is now in her 31st year at the school, and like many students, is sad to see the program go.

  “[Latin] is truly the most interesting language there is. It’s been the language of science, pharmacy, horticulture, and theology. It’s the language of the Catholic church. It has been the language of scholars for centuries. French, Spanish, it’s all just Latin with a twist,” Cates said.

  One unique aspect of the Latin program at Broughton is assigning each student a Latin character to portray.

   English and PE teacher Chris Dawson, Broughton football coach, played the role of Odysseus when he was a student at Broughton.

  With the addition of Chinese last year, a common misconception is that Chinese classes are directly causing Latin’s end. In reality, there is no such rivalry between the programs.

  “I love the fact we have Chinese,” Cates said, “I don’t think you kick out any language.”

  The evidence of the students’ love for the language is everywhere. One younger student told Cates he wanted to learn the language after the program ended.

  “I said ‘Of course I can teach you, but they’re not going to offer it.’ I told him he was my inspiration because on his own he decided he wanted to take Latin so bad he was willing to come on his own after school to learn,” Cates said.

  Along with Latin classes, Latin Honor Society will also end in the spring after members receive their cords at graduation.

  “I can’t imagine my life without teaching Latin,” Cates said. She plans to retire after this year.