TROY -- Latin may be a “dead language” as far as linguists are concerned, but it is alive and thriving at Troy High School.
Troy High School recently was named the winner of the Hildesheim Vase Award, given annually to the top high school Latin program in the state of Ohio. The award -- which is represented by a traveling silver vase that goes to the winning school for one year -- has been given out since 1928. This is the first year Troy High School has won the award.
“I think the way we went about winning this award really embodies ‘The Trojan Way,’” said Jennifer Limke, who -- along with Mike Gegel -- are teaching Latin to 120 students this year. “It was a pretty involved process and it took a lot of teamwork. We had to submit all of our testing, Mr. Gegel had to submit things from his classes, we had to submit our school demographics and (Troy High School Principal) Mr. (Dave) Dilbone had to submit a letter of recommendation.”
Troy High School will hold onto the Hildesheim Vase for one year and have its name permanently engraved on the pedestal on which it sits. Troy also will receive plaques in can keep after it returns the vase.
“The Hildesheim Vase Award recognizes and promotes academic excellence in Ohio secondary school Latin programs, regardless of their size,” it states on the award application. “Although the award is made for the program as a whole, the intent is also to recognize the contributions of the individual teacher(s) to the program in its local environment, taking into account the size and overall academic character of the high school. The primary criteria for selection are the quality of the curriculum in Latin and the academic performance of the students within that curriculum.”
Limke said that while Latin may no longer be used in conversation, there’s still value in students taking it.
“Latin students always do better on standardized tests,” Limke said. “It’s useful in a lot of career fields. Medicine, law, architecture, science … just about anything you can think of uses Latin. In the Super Bowl, they use Roman numerals. The actor who played ‘Loki’ (Tom Hiddleston) in the Marvel movies studied Latin. So did the lead singer of Coldplay (Chris Martin). So did Teller from (the magic duo) Penn and Teller. He (Raymond Teller) taught Latin in New Jersey.”