2018 Precollegiate Teaching Award Winners

The Society is delighted to announce this year's winners of the awards for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics at the Precollegiate Level.  We congratulate Susan Meyer and Thomas J. (TJ) Howell, who will both receive their awards at the Plenary Session in San Diego. You can read their citations below:

Thomas J. Howell Citation

Thomas J. Howell likes to describe his vision of teaching as “one that marries innovative language pedagogy to deep exploration of topics in an environment where language and humanistic study is welcomed and supported.” Currently at Northampton High School, Massachusetts, Thomas or “TJ”, as his students know him, has taught Latin at the secondary level since 2000. He has developed a highly creative approach to Latin instruction within a four-skills framework. His students are drawn in through “compelling, high-quality, culturally relevant comprehensible input texts”, from Harrius Potter and the incomparable Commentarii de inepto puero (anglice: Diary of a Wimpy Kid) to the Bayeux Tapestry and Catullus. As he likes to tell them, “Latin isn’t a puzzle to be decoded – it’s a language that can be read and understood without translation just like any other.” One of his novel approaches is to adopt hand signs from an instructional system designed to create new speakers for languages on the brink of extinction called “Where are your Keys” (WAYK). These allow students to express stress levels and comprehension, and thus help TJ “address their immediate emotional or intellectual needs without stopping class or drawing undue attention to themselves”. One of his favorite techniques is “Full Check,” where students can communicate to their readiness to acquire language. TJ explains, “If everyone is ‘full’ - perhaps they’re tired, or they’ve had a bad day, or they’re hungry - I’ll change my focus to review already familiar material or tell a myth or a fable”.

WAYK is an oral method and TJ takes presentational speaking, in the new Classical Language Learning Standards, very seriously. Beyond his own classroom, he has taught at the SALVI Rusticatio and Conventiculum Bostoniense for the last several summers, and recently started with the Biduum Minnesotanum. He is an inspiring example to his students. As one of his writers described it, “His command of the Latin language is impeccable and the breadth of his familiarity with Latin texts is simply stunning.” His students respond with enthusiasm. Another writer notes: “The walls of his classroom are decorated with narratives, paintings, projects, and other evidence of student enthusiasm for the subject and competence in the language, and I have seen students participate in a range of activities that indicate the considerable depth and breadth of TJ’s commitment to effective pedagogy”. TJ works hard to foster a sense of belonging. He throws all-student  banquets  to  celebrate  National  Latin  Exam  winners and creates projects that bring students together across levels, as when his Latin 2 class did a unit on oracles and the future tense and his level 5s wrote ambiguous answers to their questions. It is no surprise that students want to continue their Latin with TJ. As the teacher of middle school that feeds Northampton High writes, “since he began teaching in Northampton this fall, every parent and student who visits me has told me the same thing: they are loving Latin. They seem to be too busy getting caught up in real communication in the classroom to notice how hard they’re working and how much they’re improving”.

TJ has worked tirelessly to promote the Classics. In partnership with UMass-Boston, he has developed a dual enrollment program for Northampton and contributed significantly to the UMass teacher training program, mentoring no less than fourteen student teachers in their practicums while offering regular SLA workshops to their incoming students. He has contributed professional service all levels, serving as President of the Classical Association of Massachusetts, as CANE blog editor and board member, and as a member of the recent ACTFL committee to reconsider the new Standards for Classical Language Learning. Memorably described as “a master  teacher  and  a  consummate  professional”, TJ richly deserves a 2018 SCS Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Precollegiate Level.

Susan Meyer Citation

Susan “Magistra” Meyer has taught in Culbreth Middle School, Chapel Hill, since 2010. Her nominator’s words testify vividly to her talents: “Susan is a genius at what she does. If there were a MacArthur Award that accommodated Middle School teachers, I would nominate her for that.” As a more modest prize, the SCS is delighted to recognize Susan with an Excellence in Precollegiate Teaching Award.

The first of the many innovations Susan’s students and colleagues praise is a system she designed to encourage learning for its own sake and foster an inclusive, collaborative community. Fans of Harry Potter will recall the “House System” at Hogwarts. Magistra Susan took the concept of a ‘Latin family’ and created a ‘gens system’ that would randomly sort students into one of four Roman families (Claudians, Julians, Flavians, and Cornelians). Students earn famae or reputation points for their gens for positivity, personal growth, and the pursuit of academic opportunities. They might play Susan’s course on Memrise, a digital vocabulary game, on their bus ride home or make military standards, cartoons, stories, or charters for their gentes in Latin, or even come in early to tutor younger gens members. And yes, famae can be taken away for bad deeds, but on the other hand they are awarded generously when students continue to take Latin after middle school. Lavish famae are given to the gens of an alum who takes AP Latin. One million are awarded, if they become a Latin teacher.

Susan is taking retention to a new level. As she explains, her alumni “are active fixtures” in her classroom. As long as a student is the district, they can stay in the digital classroom until 12th grade. Alumni make posts encouraging their younger gens members to turn in missing work or to dress up for the biannual spirit day competition. They submit T-shirt designs with slogans like “The diem ain’t gonna carpe itself”. As a parent notes, “When you enter Ms. Meyer’s class in middle school, you are never her student for just a semester. You are her student for life. You become part of an intergenerational community of students, parents and teachers inspired by Ms. Meyer to love and enjoy learning together”. Susan’s outreach activities foster positive attitudes to Roman culture. Students and alumni flock to her annual study abroad trips. They also take part in community events. As one proud parent notes, “Magistra has recruited an army of nerds who put on togas and march each year in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Holiday Parade and turn the high school theater into the Underworld on Halloween”. Students submit modern Latin-related items for the classroom “ROMA VIVIT” board or take on the “Passive Voice Challenge,” attempting to use nothing but the passive for an entire school day. They create “Wonderful Verba” etymology videos (for those who miss middle school humor, the video on “incendiarism” is must see) or they read articles on her Classical Tumblr page, amoRoma. A parent explains that “Magistra is completely fluent in the language, social media, and pop culture of her students”, and a ninth grade alumna may best encapsulate the experience of Susan’s classes: “I loved how she taught in such detail that after her class even after I left the school I still think on a regular bases about word origin and how language works. Magistra's class was not only a Latin class but a life class.”

This hasn’t come easy. Susan inherited a weak program, which she has grown from a couple of classes of two and nine students respectively to five full classes at an average of twenty to twenty-five students. Her program flourishes with a diverse population. As a former teacher writes, “Ms. Meyer’s students reflect the diversity of North Carolina public schools. Her students are black, brown and white and from a wide range of economic strata. Her classroom is a haven where they learn and thrive with students across grades, schools and various other social divides. Susan has long sought to “be the teacher that I needed when I was a kid” and has succeeded brilliantly. In the words of a parent, “Magistra Meyer was born to teach middle school Latin.”

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A Greek red-figure cup depicting the disembodied torso of a man, arms outstretched, and women on either side holding the torso

The Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities initiative (AnWoMoCo), launched by the SCS in 2019 as the Classics Everywhere initiative, supports projects that seek to engage broader publics — individuals, groups, and communities — in critical discussion of and creative expression related to the ancient Mediterranean, the global reception of Greek and Roman culture, and the history of teaching and scholarship in the field of classical studies. As part of this initiative, the SCS has funded 111 projects, ranging from school programming to reading groups, prison programs, public talks and conferences, digital projects, and collaborations with artists in theater, opera, music, dance, and the visual arts. The initiative welcomes applications from all over the world. To date, it has funded projects in 25 states and 11 countries, including Canada, U.K., Italy, Greece, Spain, Belgium, Ghana, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and India.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 10/08/2021 - 1:50pm by .
San Francisco

Hotel reservations are now open! 

The Hilton San Francisco Union Square is the official hotel for the 2022 Annual Meeting and will host the exhibit hall, all academic sessions, the opening night reception, and most related events.  The discounted group rate is $169 per night (plus applicable taxes). Additional rooms are available at the Hilton Parc 55 across the street.  A limited number are available for $159 per night (plus applicable taxes) for reservations made by October 31st.  Click on the links below to make your reservations. You can also make a reservation by calling 1-800-HILTONS and using code AIA or SCS to make your reservation. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 3:26pm by Erik Shell.

Online Conference: “The Genre of Hymn in Antiquity”

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Wed, 10/06/2021 - 10:00am by Erik Shell.

The New England Classical Journal (NECJ) invites applications for the position of Book Review Editor, with the appointment to begin in December 2021.

The deadline for applications is 11:59 pm Eastern Time on Oct. 22, 2021. 

A publication of the Classical Association of New England (CANE), NECJ is a biannual, peer-reviewed journal that publishes articles, notes, and reviews on all aspects of classical antiquity. The journal is an Open Access Publication and is available at https://crossworks.holycross.edu/necj/ 

NECJ aims to publish reviews of books on a wide range of topics related to classical antiquity. Each issue of NECJ contains 4-6 book reviews of 1,200-1,500 words each, and the Book Review Editor is responsible for selecting books for review; finding reviewers; and working with reviewers to help them submit their completed reviews by the deadline. In this position the successful candidate will work with the journal’s Editor, Aaron Seider, and Managing Editor, Ruth Breindel, and will receive an honorarium of $1,000/per year for their work on the journal.

View full article. | Posted in Organizations on Wed, 10/06/2021 - 9:51am by Erik Shell.
Two pairs of teachers and students. The teacher on the left, seated on an uncushioned stool, plays a flute, his mantle pushed down to his waist. His young pupil stands facing him, wrapped in his mantle. The teacher in the center is seated on a cushion.

Our sixth interview in the Contingent Faculty Series is a virtual conversation between Dr. Theodora B. Kopestonsky and Dr. Stephanie Kimmey. Dr. Stephanie Kimmey recently joined the Department of Classics at Colorado College as a Visiting Assistant Professor. She received her PhD in Art History and Archaeology from the University of Missouri, Columbia in 2017. Stephanie’s research explores the intersection of Greek religion and daily life through everyday objects and ceramics to better understand the individual, personal experiences through the things people leave behind. She has been active in excavations throughout Greece since 2006, working at Nemea, Mycenae, and Aidonia. Before joining Colorado College, Stephanie worked as the Assistant Director of the MU Writing Center.

Theodora B. Kopestonsky: How did you become interested in the field of Classics and, more specifically, what led you to Greek archaeology and field work?

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 10/04/2021 - 10:32am by .

(Resposted from dignitymemorial.com)

Dr. Ashley A. Simone, 33, died September 16, 2021 in Colorado Springs, CO. She was born February 4, 1988 in Colorado Springs to Jeanie Young and Gary Crooks and grew up in Palmer Lake, CO.

Ashley graduated high school from The Classical Academy. She showed exceptional talent in art and an aptitude for Latin at an early age. During her junior high and high school years, Ashley enjoyed riding and showing horses. She also competed in 4-H horse judging and knowledge bowl competitions, and enjoyed many special friends who joined or supported her in those activities.

In 2009, while pursuing her undergraduate degree at Baylor University, Ashley traveled abroad for a semester of study at St. Andrews, Scotland. She spent the following summer in Athens, Greece, where she was an excavator at an archaeological dig.

Ashley completed her Bachelor’s Degree at Baylor, graduating magna cum laude in May of 2011. As a University Scholar, she studied Classics and Great Texts in Baylor’s Honors College and her undergraduate thesis was awarded outstanding distinction.

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Wed, 09/29/2021 - 9:21am by Erik Shell.

A Call for 2023 Program Directors

Would you like to direct a tour or workshop for the Vergilian Society in 2023? 

Vergilian Society tours are designed to appeal to a wide range of travelers interested in the ancient Mediterranean.  We welcome college students, high school students, instructors and nonprofessionals.

For 2023, we are particularly interested in tours of the ancient Mediterranean or study programs (such as Latin workshops) that are based at the Villa Vergiliana, a study center in the Bay of Naples, Italy. 

If you have any questions about proposal submissions, please contact the Chair of the Villa Management Committee, John Wonder, at jwwonder@sfsu.edu 

You'll find previous tour details at https://www.vergiliansociety.org/previous-tours/

For those interested, please send a proposal to the Chair of the Villa Management Committee.  The proposal may be a paragraph describing the planned program or a longer version.  The Vergilian Society has offered study programs since 1937, and our directors have enjoyed many rewarding experiences.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 09/28/2021 - 11:30am by Erik Shell.

Symposium Cumanum, 2022

CALL FOR PAPERS

Title: “Dido Unbound: Queen of Carthage before, in, and after Vergil”

Co-Directors: Zara Torlone (Miami University), Giampiero Scafoglio (University of Nice).

Tentative Dates: June 21-25, 2022.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 09/27/2021 - 1:27pm by Erik Shell.
A large, brown-skinned man, nude with a beard, stands amid a group of smaller men in togas. He is standing on some men and holding others in his hands.

One of the fascinations occupying Classical Studies in North America and Western Europe during the 1980s and 1990s was the way images refract the particularities of societies that produce them. One look at the imaginary of sixth- or fifth-century Athens would provide you a blistering array of human forms: doughty warriors, mourning women, drunken gods; the young and the old, Greek and barbarian. This last pair seemed especially interesting at the twilight of the Cold War.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 09/27/2021 - 9:23am by Christopher Stedman Parmenter.

The following members were elected in the ballot held this Summer. They take office in January 2022, except for the two new members of the Nominating Committee who take office immediately.  Thank you to all SCS members who agreed to stand for election this year.

President-Elect

Matthew Roller

Financial Trustee  

Joseph Farrell
Vice President for Education

Teresa Ramsby

Program Committee

Rosa Andújar

Board of Directors

Young Richard Kim

Nandini Pandey

Nominating Committee

Ronnie Ancona

Pramit Chaudhuri

Goodwin Committee

Rhiannon Ash

Yopie Prins

Professional Ethics Committee

Deborah Beck

James Rives

Referendum items on converting appointed to elected positions on the board: Conversion of all three positions (graduate student member, contingent faculty member, and Equity Advisor) was approved.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 09/23/2021 - 3:59pm by Erik Shell.

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