Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

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Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

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Latin club works to supplement loss Latin program at Central

Senior+Isabel+Deer+paints+the+windows+in+front+of+Centrals+Learning+Commons+for+Latin+Clubs+homecoming+decorations+on+Sep.+29.
Carter Speckmann
Senior Isabel Deer paints the windows in front of Central’s Learning Commons for Latin Club’s homecoming decorations on Sep. 29.

It’s been a full year since the District 203 Board of Education voted 6-1 to phase out its high school Latin program. But even after Latin 1 was removed from Central’s course offerings, the program has continued to foster the “welcoming” community that originally brought them together in opposition to the vote.

As the class was gradually phased out from the course offerings, students who rallied against the program’s removal last year have worked to shift emphasis towards Latin Club, led by President Emerson Fatzinger, a senior.

“[Latin Club] is an outlet for the Latin community where people can spend time after school and do fun things pertaining to Latin,” Fatzinger said. “You don’t actually have to know any Latin to be in it.”

Latin Club is split up into two parts. The competitive branch of the club plays “Certamen,” a form of Latin Jeopardy. The other, more informal side, meets periodically to decorate windows, paint potatoes and “have fun.”

The removal of the Latin program and ensuing enrollment decrease has posed a challenge to club recruitment. Historically, club members have gotten involved after taking the class as freshmen. Without that being an option anymore, the club is looking to step up their recruitment.

“I hope to start advertising the [club] to people outside of the [class] because I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future,” Fatzinger said. “We want Latin Club to continue even as Latin phases out.”

Since Latin 1 is no longer offered in District 203, the process to begin learning the language is more difficult. However, it hasn’t stopped two freshmen from jumping into Latin 2 after taking a summer course on the basics.

“In Latin [classes], there’s only me and one other freshman,” said freshman Zacharia Alramahi, who’s in Latin 2 after taking the introductory course over the summer. “Honestly, it’s as if I’m in any other class. I feel like I’m welcome there.”

Both Fatzinger and Alramahi attribute the welcoming community in large part to Latin teacher Stacy Cunningham (affectionately known as “Magistra,” meaning “teacher” in Latin).

“I think Magistra [is] what makes the Latin community so special to so many people,” Fatzinger said. “She really enables that community by encouraging kids to be super genuine because she’s super genuine to us.”

Despite the removal of Latin classes, Cunningham will remain at Central teaching English Language Learners classes as part of a Board of Education proposal to expand the EL program into all District 203 Jr. High and High Schools. She will also continue to sponsor Latin Club.

“We’ll have to talk to the Dean of Student Activities to see if the district wants to keep supporting Latin Club or if they want to transition that out with the program,” Cunningham said. “[Until then], we definitely have to be better about shifting our focus outward. We’ve never traditionally [advertised Latin Club] on the school hallway slides because we always advertise within the classroom.”

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About the Contributor
C.J. Getting, News Editor
C.J. is a junior entering his third year on Staff for the Central Times. He’s always loved writing news, and is excited to work as the News Editor this year. When he’s not writing for CT, C.J. can be found captaining the Debate Team or helping out SAC or JSA. He also desperately needs to detox from volunteering. After graduation, C.J. hopes to major in Political Science and spend too much money on Law School someday.
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