Like Latin? Learn it at Texas Tech.
The Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures at Tech showcased its program to about 220 high school students and teachers of Latin from across the region Wednesday during a "Classics Day" event on Tech's campus.
"We're basically trying to recruit them," said Barbara Weinlich, assistant professor of classics and coordinator for the event. "We hope they'll be students of Texas Tech and the classics program."
Participating schools included Lubbock, Frenship, Tascosa, Monterey and Coronado high schools.
"I have local kids and I was hoping to get them involved," said Alicia Robins, a high school Latin teacher at Monterey and Coronado high schools.
Students spent their morning observing several classics classes such as Classical Mythology, Sports and Public Spectacles in Antiquity and a Beginning Course in Greek.
Don Lavigne, a professor of classics, said he enjoyed the addition to his Greek class.
"What I was looking for is that they get a sense of what a Greek class is like," he said. "Most are familiar with Latin, and I hope they see that Greek isn't as strange as they might think."
Lavigne played frisbee with several high school students during the day, and he said he noticed a general excitement about the event.
"I think that they're enjoying themselves and getting a good sense of Tech," he said. "One student in particular showed a strong interest in the program. I'm sure it'll have a real impact on her decision."
Students seemed to enjoy the competitive activities, Weinlich said. Groups of students - four from each represented high school - participated in a "Certamen" competition. Student volunteers from the classics department quizzed competitors on classical antiquity, anthology and other Latin-related subjects, and each participating student earned a prize.
Other students participated in a campus scavenger hunt, she said. They collected letters from various places on campus and the letters formed a Latin sentence, which they had to translate.
Austin Huber, a junior at Amarillo High School, said his favorite part of Classics Day was Certamen, because he learned a lot of new facts.
"I really enjoyed today," he said. "It's been more than I expected, and getting to see the campus was nice."
Huber said he had not visited Tech's campus before Classics Day, and it has "moved Tech up on the list" of colleges he is interested in attending.
During the afternoon, the high school students and teachers took guided tours through "The Medieval Southwest" exhibition in the Southwest Collection library.
We especially emphasized the Latin side of it, Weinlich said, because there are several Latin texts included in the exhibit.
At the end of the day, teachers and students gathered in a Chemistry building lecture hall to watch a theater play performed in Latin by Tech students and faculty of the classics section.
Performers donned paper-plate masks and entertained the audience with witty banter, which included English commentary for beginning Latin students.
"We want to show them early on that Tech has some interesting programs and a beautiful campus," Lavigne said. "If we plant the seed early on, there's a better chance of them coming here."