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Classics

The Classics Department endeavors to lead each student to knowledge and appreciation of Latin and Greek literature, its unbroken influence on humanity and, through close study of the thoughts and deeds of Greece and Rome, the ability to think, speak, and write with increased clarity, cogency, and knowledge.

While exposure to etymology and word derivation undoubtedly has a positive, practical impact on the students of Latin and Greek, the department firmly believes that the true and lasting benefit of study in the Classics is the intrinsic value of the literature. As each student gains the power and wisdom of the words of Cicero, Ovid, Catullus, Horace, Vergil, and Homer, he achieves an informed sense of their relevance both to the human story and to his own life story. These life examples provide him with a more informed perspective from which to view the world and negotiate its challenges.

At all grade levels, the primary focus of the study of Classics is directed toward reading the great prose and poetry of the period. In this project, each student gains exposure not only to the precise and thoughtful construction of accomplished and lasting writing, but also to the equally long-enduring philosophical contributions made through the literature. The department works closely with other academic departments to ensure that students make connections between the disciplines and apply their training in all the ways their predecessors have. Although students are not required to study Latin and Greek, nearly half of the student body chooses to do so.

Students of Classics play an important and enduring role in perpetuating and celebrating the Catholic environment around which the School is centered. The Classics Department seeks to support the growth of our students' faith and reason as they read of conversion in St. Augustine and examine scripture in St. Jermoe's Vulgate. The annual Latin Mass, the recitation of the Pater Noster in Chapel, and the singing of the Rorate Caeli or Attende Domine provide an important link to our Catholic faith and traditions which will always have a place informing the thought and growth of St. Sebastian's students.

Available Courses:

Latin I

This basic course in the study of Latin and the life of the Romans covers the elements of grammar, the five declensions of nouns, the four conjugations of verbs, pronunciation, derivatives, relative pronouns, passive verbs, participles, and infinitives. Through the required texts (Ecce Romani I and II), students build reading skills, learn vocabulary, and achieve broader exposure to Roman culture. Students undertake a basic study of mythology and offer presentations on various topics and themes. All students participate in Level I of the National Latin Exam. The course is offered as a two-year sequence to seventh graders and returning eighth graders. New eighth graders and new ninth graders without previous exposure to Latin complete the course in one year.

Latin II

In this course, students undertake a study of advanced grammar, including the subjunctive mood. Through the required texts (Ecce Romani II and III), continued emphasis is placed on the development of reading skills, learning a broad base of vocabulary, and furthering discovery of Roman culture. A variety of readings are taken, including selections from Cicero, Caesar, and Pliny. Students continue their study of mythology and offer presentations on more advanced topics and themes. Participation in Level II of the National Latin Exam is a component of the course.

Latin III

Essentially a course in Latin literature, students carefully engage in reading from a range of classical authors. The works of Casear and Cicero are examined both for their style and their historical interest. Selections from Catullus, Horace, and Ovid introduce students to the variety and complexity of Latin poetry. The year concludes with an introduction to Vergil's Aeneid, laying a solid foundation for continued study.

Latin IV Honors

In this course, students read a range of poetry and prose, covering the period of the Late Republic through the Augustan era and into the early Empire. Recent authors studied have included Lucretius, Catullus, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, and St. Augustine. Cultural and historical themes surrounding selected texts, as well as their place within the Western canon, are considered. Students work to solidify their grasp of advanced grammar, thereby learning to read Latin texts with greater confidence and appreciation.

Latin IV AP

Designed to prepare students for the AP Latin exam, students in this intensive, college-level course translate selections from Vergil's Aeneid and Caesar's Gallic War. Appreciation of the literary, historical, and stylistic aspects of both Vergil's and Caesar's works lead to a comprehensive understanding of classical literature. All students are prepared for and are required to take the AP Latin exam in May.

Latin: Advanced Seminar

Students in this intensive, college-level course read selections from related authors, paying special attention to translation, interpretation, and analysis of the poetry. The course also focuses on the traditions, metrics, and poetical issues which are essential for an informed understanding of Hellenistic, Neoteric, and lyric poetry.

Greek I

This senior elective course introduces students to the elements of Greek, the language of ancient Athens. The course covers lessons of Athenaze: Introduction to Greek, supplemented by readings and other useful work in etymology and vocabulary building. Students are provided with many opportunities to present material on ancient Greek history, literature, and culture, with special emphasis placed on contemporary society's common debt to Greek civilization.

Sean Albertson

Sean Albertson

Titles: Department Chair
David Cornish

David Cornish

Titles: Director of Grades Seven & Eight
Michael Deschenes

Michael Deschenes

Titles: Director of Library & Information Services
James Ferguson

James Ferguson

Titles: Faculty
Michael Nerbonne

Michael Nerbonne

Titles: Assistant Headmaster, Dean of Studies
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