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Elementary students learn Latin

By Greg Gelpi

Helping Jackson Elementary School children get an early start in learning a foreign language, Jonesboro High School students taught them to say things such as "Who's your daddy?" in Latin.

Jonesboro High Latin Club students cross the street to Jackson Elementary every other Friday and use skits, games and arts and crafts to practice Latin and pass on their knowledge and prepare them for standardized tests.

Last week, teacher Anna Cox and her students taught the elementary students a lesson from a high school class, and the students quickly picked up the Latin lesson.

"I did a lesson with you today that I did with my 10th graders two days ago," Cox said. "I decided to do a difficult lesson for you to see if you could handle it."

Eager to learn the children filled the Jackson media center and watched as the older students performed a skit with Latin words used to refer to family members, such as "mater" or "pater" for "mother" and "father" respectively.

"It's fun learning new things in Latin," Ugochi Ananaba, 10, said.

Ananaba answered many of Cox's questions in Latin as fast as some students answer questions about their favorite cartoons.

"I'm going to take you for my Latin III class," Cox said to her.

The skits and games will pay off in years to come when the elementary students are taking standardized tests.

"Learning Latin words is great for test scores, Cox said. "Working with the older students gives the kids great role models as well. I thought it would be a great idea to give the students a mentoring and teaching opportunity before they went to college and way to give back to the community and school system."

And Cox's students agreed.

"I know Latin helped my verbal skills," Jonesboro High student Janelle Ludaway said.

The Jonesboro High students also taught the Jackson Elementary students how to say Valentine's Day words and gave them Valentines to decorate using Latin words.

"It gives them a jumpstart," Stuart Kinsley, another Jonesboro High student, said.