Latin Found Alive and Well at Sojourn Academy

At Sojourn Academy, Latin is a required subject beginning in Third Grade.

North Oakridge, TX - “First declension….Go!”

Dry erase markers begin squeaking against the whiteboard as students enjoy a little informal class competition to see who can be the first to complete the set of Latin grammatical cases. The winner may get a moment wearing the golden laurel wreath, but that is not so much the objective of the sport. Really it’s all in good fun, and the joy is in the learning. The teacher, Hannah McDermett, smiles at one student who is particularly enthusiastic about the little game. He loves Latin, and he takes pride in winning this round.

At Sojourn Academy, Latin is a required subject beginning in Third Grade.

Why study Latin?

It is often debated why it is necessary to study what is known to be a “dead language”. The truth is, however, that the reports of Latin’s death has been greatly exaggerated. Latin is not dead. Latin… has transcended.

That’s right: Latin is alive and well and lurking all over the place. Over 80% of our English language comes directly from Latin and Greek roots, with 70% being derived strictly from Latin. Tests reveal that students who study Latin score higher than students who study any other foreign language, or no foreign language at all. When a student studies Latin first, any language he or she chooses to study next will be much easier, especially if it is any of the Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, etc.). Those languages, incidentally, derive as much as 90% of their vocabulary from Latin.

The reason for learning Latin is not strictly for the pragmatic purposes of higher test scores (although that purpose is accomplished). The larger, arguably more important, reason for learning Latin is because it is a great tool for investigating words of wisdom that have endured through the ages.

“There is a beauty in learning the language. To be able to read great minds like Cicero, Virgil, and Ovid in their own language gives us a glorious insight,” states McDermett. “It gives us a better glimpse not just about what they thought, but how they came to have their thoughts, in the context of their time. There is an assumption today that modern thought is better than ancient thought. That is sometimes true, but not always. There are some thoughts from the past maybe we ought to revisit. It helps students think through ideas with more historical perspective, so they don’t just take the word of a politician, or a Hollywood celebrity, or a news reporter, without knowing there is a larger context with which to approach an opinion about politics, morals, ethics… anything, actually.”

McDermett also quipped that C.S.Lewis said it best when writing an introduction to a translation of 4th Century’s Athanasius of Alexandria’s work “The Incarnation of the Word of God.” Lewis states, “The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books.”

Over the course of their studies leading to graduation, Sojourn Academy students read a lot of old books. And, equipped with Latin, they can read many of those old books for all they are worth. They are certainly wiser for it.


About Sojourn Academy

Sojourn Academy, formerly known as Oak Ridge Christian Academy, is a 2017 Texas Private Schools Association featured school. We are a fully accredited, distinctly Christian, classical school known for producing students of spiritual and academic excellence, offering education for grades Pre-K‒12.   

Sojourn Academy is located at 27420 Robinson Road, Oak Ridge North, TX  77385.

For more information about Sojourn Academy, please call 281.298.5800 or visit


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