It took 12 years, but Hand Middle School principal Marisa Vickers finally found a Latin teacher this year.
“There are just not many out there,” Vickers said.
Hand parents and students have been clamoring for years to join the ranks of nearly a dozen Midlands schools that boast the classical language offering. Mostly, they want it for SAT preparation.
Data show that students who take Latin score higher on the verbal portion of the SAT than students who take other languages. Only students who studied Hebrew scored higher on the verbal portion, according to 2004 SAT data.
A USC Latin professor said the once regular calls from school districts seeking leads on Latin teachers have tapered off.
“I think they’ve honestly just given up,” said Ward Briggs, a Carolina Distinguished Professor of classics.
Ward attributed the dwindling Latin teaching corps to the counter-culture movements of the 1960s, when the language was shunned.
“I have no more succinct reason other than it was the ’60s and people were challenging everything,” Briggs said.
Interest in the language never fully rebounded, he said.