Latin and Classics class visits from Lydie Leurquin
She was the MC for the Classics quizzes earlier this year, which was a wonderful piece of continuity after she was an LPHS student in my first two years at Logan Park, and I invited her to come and talk to us about her experiences studying Classics and Archaeology at the University of Otago. I am sure Latin and Classics teachers everywhere are very pleased whenever we find proof of keen and continuing interest in the ancient world!
Lydie studied Classics and Latin at Logan Park High School and was inspired to continue this interest at university, where she also studied Ancient Greek as part of her Classics degree. We asked her what it was like studying Classics at Otago. For Lydie, small classes for ancient languages were a highlight, because you can form close friendships and study together, as well as receiving individual attention from caring, helpful lecturers. The atmosphere was fun and social, but also studious, making the challenge of ancient languages enjoyable.
From high school Latin, Lydie fondly remembers eating stuffed “dormice” (not actual dormice) in previous Latin teacher Ms Beck’s class, and our casual Fridays with my class (Ms Lonie’s), when we shared muffins from Gardens New World to make translation go a little easier. Another highlight of high school Latin was our international students, from Germany and Austria. These students not only gave an insight into another way of life and culture, but also tended to have excellent Latin skills, keeping up standards for everyone. Lydie would also like to particularly acknowledge Mr Enright as an inspiration to continue studying Classics at tertiary level.
In her visit to our Year 10 Latin class, Lydie was introduced to the Cambridge Latin Course - the other classic textbook than the one she used (Oxford Latin Course - more detailed grammar, but not quite as gripping!). Students read aloud from a story where Grumio the cook impersonates a baker in order to get money from a political candidate. Lydie helped the Year 9 class add authentic details to the Trojan and Greek characters they are designing for a Latin-based role-playing game set in the aftermath of the Trojan War. It was inspiring, she said, to see another cohort of passionate Classicists in the making.
Lydie is currently using her skills working as an academic administrator at Va’a o Tautai, the Centre for Pacific Health, at the University of Otago. She loves her job, especially the community outreach aspects, and that her workplace is very supportive of her continuing professional development, but she “does not rule out” becoming a Classics teacher one day. Lydie says it is “heartbreaking” that Latin is to be dropped from the NCEA curriculum, however, there is always the possibility to pick up the language at university level, for instance in the Classics Programme at the University of Otago.