Back to School: Latin 101

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Create a Latin motto for your class to guide you through the year!
Invite your class or each student to create a motto for the year in terms of positive faith growth over the course of the year.

Your students are most likely familiar with the tradition of mottos or creeds in Latin. Give them the following examples in case they are not familiar with this practice.

"Esto Perpetua"-- "Let it be perpetual" (Idaho State Motto)
"Esse Quam Videri"-- "To be rather than to seem" (North Carolina State Motto)
"Semper Fidelis"-- "always faithful" (Marine Corp Motto)
"Disciplina Praesidium Civitatis"-- "Cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy" (University of Texas)
"Veritas" - "Truth" (Dominican Motto)

These are just a few examples. Barring having a Latin scholar in your class you can provide your students with a list of common Latin phrases to select from. What your students come up with will not be exact translations of the English into Latin, but the simple phrases will sound and look like a traditional Latin motto.

Have each student share his or her motto with the class. You might consider having the motto posted on the front of their desk for the first week or so of class. You can also have the mottos posted around the room. Use the motto as a way of gauging your students' enthusiasm about your class. You may chose to come back to the mottos every few weeks or so to see if your students are staying true to their personal motto.

acknowledgments

Copyright © 2009 Saint Mary's Press. Permission is granted for this article to be freely used for classroom or campus ministry purposes; however, it may not be republished in any form without the explicit permission of Saint Mary's Press. For more resources to support your ministry, call 800-533-8095 or visit our Web site at www.smp.org.

Published August 21, 2003.