"Veni, vidi, vici" goes hand in hand with ABC at Holy Rosary Academy, where students study Latin and Greek.
Kindergartners master the Lord's Prayer in Latin and seniors ponder Sophocles tragedies. Students in grades three and four study Latin in three sessions each week. It's on to Greek in grades five and six and back to Latin in grades seven and eight. Both of the classical languages, along with French and Spanish, are offered to high school students.
"It's proven by SAT scores that students who have a good basis in Latin and Greek word roots do about 100 points higher in the verbal portion of the Scholastic Aptitude Test and also score higher in the critical reading area," principal Barbara Doerner said.
Greek and Latin give students an important advantage, she said, throughout the age spectrum. Latin was a common curriculum for earlier generations like the baby boomers. Now, after a waning of the practice, the pendulum is swinging back toward its use, she said.
"It's been like a big hole -- something was missing in education," she said. "This is a lifelong tool, and most students are very appreciative of it by the time they get to high school."
Holy Rosary Academy students participated in the 2005 American Classical League/National Junior Classical League national Latin exam in March. The school's 38 students scored higher than the national average in two of the three levels they attempted.
Kevin Klump, a seventh-grader, made a perfect score. Near-perfect performances were turned in by Rebecca Klump and Angela Butler, who received the gold medal. The 40-question exam covered grammar, comprehension, geography, history and derivatives.
Every year, Holy Rosary celebrates the classics with the Greek and Roman Festival, which includes plays and skits in Greek, Latin and English along with traditional ancient foods like grapes, bread and hummus. The upperclassmen create sets, costumes, programs and publicity, and parents help out too.