This spring, Maya Sigelman ‘30 took her first National Latin Exam along with more than 100,000 others from across the United States and 21 foreign countries.
Her score on the Introduction to Latin Exam? A perfect 40 out of 40, earning her a Certificate of Honorable Merit, Summa Cum Laude, for Outstanding Performance.
“I was kind of nervous because I knew there were people much older than me taking the test,” Maya said. “I wasn’t expecting to get all the questions right. When I saw the number, I had to check my name twice.”
The National Latin Exam is a 40-question, multiple-choice test with a time limit of 45 minutes, offered to students on seven levels, with Introduction to Latin being the first. The exam provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge of Latin and the Roman world, focusing on their ability to read and comprehend Latin.
“My dad used to do Latin when he was in college and he said it would really help me in vocabulary, prefixes and suffixes, and root words, “ Maya said. “I tried it out and I really started liking it.”
Maya has been taking Latin classes since June 2020. At Gulliver, a counselor connected her to Mr. Juan Carlos Garcia, then-IB MYP Coordinator and current Admissions Coordinator, for additional support.
“He recommended books and showed me ways to study and learn,” Maya said. “Latin is very complicated so you have to have a plan for what you’re doing, and he helped me a lot with that.”
She already has plans to take the next level of the exam next year, as she continues to enjoy learning the language.
“I really find it helpful that Latin connects to suffixes, prefixes, and root words. [For example,] in ‘automobile,’ I know that ‘auto’ means ‘by itself.’ So, if it’s a vocabulary word I don’t know, I can see if there are any Latin roots and I can figure out what the word means.
Also, in English, you only read from left to right. In Latin, I find it very cool that you have to scramble the words around to make sense. It’s like a puzzle and I really like thinking like that.”
Maya is on her way to Middle School next year, with a lot to look forward to as she continues to grow at Gulliver.
“I’m looking forward to learning French and I’m excited for everyone having their different schedules, “she said. “I also got recommended for seventh grade Pre-Algebra so I’m really excited for that, as well. I love math. I love how there are different types of math.
At Gulliver, all my teachers introduce me to different things. Gulliver is very good at teaching me skills in a specific subject and improving what I already know. I really like that.”