By ALLISON MATYUS
Students in the Latin program at Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., are fundraising to go to the Illinois Junior Classical League Convention (IJCLC) next month.
The annual three-day convention brings together high school students from all over the state to celebrate the classics. There are 185 students in Kenwood’s Latin program, and Latin teacher Dawn Strauss has a goal of bringing 80 to 100 kids to the convention.
Each student’s ticket costs $275 and for those students that are unable to afford the cost, Strauss is trying to raise $10,000 before the deadline of Jan. 19. So far, the online campaign has raised $2,963.
“The convention has all these different cultural sessions having to do with the classical worlds of the Romans and the Greeks and it’s really the highlight of my students’ year,” Strauss said.
Strauss said that Kenwood is the only neighborhood high school in the city of Chicago to offer Latin classes. Kenwood’s program offers the language to students in grades seven through 12.
In 2004, when the program first began, Strauss said that she had 35 students, but she said her six Latin classes are now booming.
“A lot of people will take Latin because they are thinking about maybe a field in law or medicine but I really say that Latin is for everyone,” she said. “67 percent of [English] comes from Latin and Greek roots. If you know 500 root words in Latin, you will be able to figure out 5,000 English words.”
She said the subject is cross-curricular and that students who take Latin tend to benefit from it even in subjects such as history or science.
“The complexity of grammar in Latin and how methodical it is requires you to really work out those higher level thinking skills,” Strauss said.
The IJCLC is from Thursday, Feb. 16, to Saturday, Feb. 18. To donate to the fundraiser, visit https://www.gofundme.com/help-send-ka-to-iljcl.