Willow Middle Schoolers Excel in 2020 National Latin Exam

by | April 24, 2020

Congratulations to our Grade 7 and 8 Latin students, who did an excellent job on the National Latin Exam this year! Once again, Willow’s class averages are well above national averages. We’re so proud of you all for challenging yourselves with this difficult exam!

Willow’s seventh grade class took the Introduction to Latin exam. The class averaged a 35 out of 40, compared to the national average of 31 out of 40. Grade 7 earned seven purple ribbons for Outstanding Achievement, including one Perfect Paper certificate and two achievement certificates. Way to go, Grade 7!

Eighth graders took the Latin I exam and also outperformed the national average, with a class average of 35 out of 40 compared to the national average of 29 out of 40. Grade 8 students earned six gold medals and summa cum laude certificates (including three perfect exams), four silver medals and maxima cum laude certificates, two magna cum laude certificates, and one cum laude distinction.

Willow middle schoolers have a history of excelling at the National Latin Exam. At Willow, students develop strong communication skills and learn to master the English language through our robust language program, which includes world languages and Latin.

Latin is tied to Willow’s Virtues Program, too. Students create shields with Latin phrases and virtues in class each year.

Why Latin?

As middle school students study Latin, they gain a deeper understanding of English and other languages. This new perspective is an invaluable guide as they pursue the mastery of English and hone their communication skills. Through Latin, students develop the listening, reading, writing, and vocabulary skills necessary for effective and precise communication.

“Studying Latin makes our students better readers and writers by tuning their eyes and ears to linguistic subtleties and nuances,” said Willow’s Latin teacher and middle school director, Sarah Miller. “Consequently, they become more intentional with their own use of language as it pertains to word choice, tense selection, and parallel structure.”

“Studying Latin also develops problem-solving skills and independent thinking,” Miller said. “Because English sentence structure does not model Latin’s, Latin cannot be understood if merely read from left to right. In Latin, the verb is often the final word in a sentence. Solving the puzzle of everything that comes before the verb requires methodical decoding and logic.”

Students study Latin in all three middle school years, starting in sixth grade. Willow’s language program is integrated closely with their studies in other subjects, particularly in social studies projects such as the sixth grade’s Tour of Ancient Rome and art, where students creatively express their understanding of Latin and the cultures associated with the ancient language.

“Alumni interested in science and law will appreciate their familiarity with the Latinate nomenclature utilized by these disciplines,” Miller said, adding that all students benefit from the program. “Whether Willow’s alumni continue to study Latin in high school or choose to pursue another language, they will benefit from a strong grammatical and structural foundation.”

Learn more about Willow’s middle school program, and the critical role Latin and world languages play in our curriculum, here.

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