Latin students to travel to Greece

Following last year’s trip to Rome, the administration has approved a trip that will give Latin students the opportunity to travel to Greece April 6-14.

The students will travel in partnership with the Paideia Institute, a group they collaborated with during the Rome trip last year, the first Latin trip sponsored by Harvard-Westlake. As stated in its mission, The Paideia Institute, a non-profit organization, promotes the study of the classical humanities through academic programming in the United States and abroad.

Middle school world languages teacher Mercedes Barletta, one of the co-chaperones on the trip to Rome, said she first got involved with the Institute through another organization, Septentrionale Americanum Latinitatis Vivae Institutum. Barletta spent the last three summers attending Latin workshops sponsored by SALVI, which according to Barletta, is “run by Latin teachers for Latin teachers,” where one of her colleagues first recommended partnering with the Institute.

As with the Rome trip, for the trip to Greece, Barletta decided to collaborate with an internal source, middle school history teacher George Gaskin.

“I chose him because he loves traveling, [and] he’s a history teacher so he brings a nice counterpart to the language component,” Barletta said.

The two co-chaperones decided to work with the Institute once more due to their positive experience last year.

“Last year the Paideia Institute was really wonderful and we had this amazing person, Emma,” Taia Cheng ’19 said. “She really knew about the history and culture of Rome and she brought us to many amazing piazzas, so I’m hoping to get that same kind of experience from Greece with Paideia Institute again.”

The students will be traveling to prominent archaeological sites and museums, such as the Acropolis in Athens, Olympia and Cape Sounion, and will be staying in monasteries or guesthouses in city centers. Throughout their journey, students will have the opportunity to read texts from authors mentioned in their curriculum, like Vitruvius, Ovid and Cicero.

Barletta said that it’s her hope that the World Languages Department will be able to offer students a trip to Rome and Greece on alternating years.

“Having a rotating option between Greece and Rome allows students to have different experiences with the classical and ancient world and allows me to pull from a smaller group of kids that are eligible to attend,” Barletta said.

The trip is open to all Latin students from levels Latin II onward, with 16 spots available. Registration on the school website is open until Dec. 1, with an informational meeting in early January. The cost of the trip is $3,965 per student.

Compared to the Rome trip, there are two more spots available and the price is less expensive than the $4,200 per student price last year. Nonetheless, Latin students said they still appreciate that they are now able to travel to study their language abroad.

“I’m really thankful I get to go to a school where you can actually turn down opportunities like that, where they’re so many opportunities for learning,” Davis Cook ’19 said.

Upon reflecting on their experiences last year, participants also believe they made the right choice and said other Latin students should take advantage of the trip.

“The Latin program is so wonderful, and if they’re enjoying studying the language they’ll also be interested in the history and the culture of the places that have been mentioned in their studying,” Cheng said. “And if they really want to see them, then they should sign up for this trip.”

 

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