The Norman Transcript

Local news

September 6, 2010

Norman High School revives ‘dead’ language

NORMAN — Diagnosed as a dead language, dying off with the Roman’s years ago, Latin has been resurrected at Norman High School.

And the school’s Latin teacher, Erin Davis, is leading the renaissance.

At Davis’ persistence, the school is, for the first time, offering an advanced placement level of the language.

“There’s definitely been a resurgence in the last 10 years in the number of people wanting to take Latin,” Davis said, adding that schools where Latin had been extinct are slowly adding back the course.

Davis credited the rebound in interest to elevating college entrance exam scores and those aiming for careers in law and medicine.

And she hopes the AP addition at Norman will help the classical language rival Spanish.

“With Latin classes being so much smaller, anything I can do to pull students into the class is a benefit,” said Davis, who has six students enrolled this year in AP Latin.

Davis said it’s been her goal, since she was hired four years ago, to develop an AP class by her fourth year, so the students enrolled in Latin 1 during her first year would have an AP class by their fourth year.

While enrollment numbers were a worry for Davis and the administration of Norman Public Schools, she said the smaller class size means its impossible for students to hide on the back row.

“They really have to know their stuff because they’re going to be called on at least twice,” Davis said.

And three students vied so much for a spot in the class that they spent the summer bridging their senior year with a Latin textbook.

Norman High Senior Andrew Phillips, who was enrolled in Latin 1 last year, had enough credits to graduate high school a year early.

But the promise of an AP Latin class was one reason he kept the cap and gown at bay for a year.

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