Latin Is Not Dead Yet, It’s Just Roman Around

Image of this year’s AJCL officers. Shandi Burrows (historian) to the far left

Dalia Altubuh and Cassie Volkin

Latin, a language that has been passed on over centuries, now seemingly lies forgotten. As no new cultures or countries adopt the ancient language as their own, it becomes what is known as a dead language. Then, you ask, is it really that important?

The answer is yes. As Bob Jones Latin teacher Raymond Congo stated, “Latin is everywhere!”

Latin isn’t dead, it’s just Roman around!

Whether you realize it or not, Latin is a fundamental part of communication in the terms of other language systems including our own. Latin is the backbone of the romantic languages (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Romanian). It’s to the point where saying thank you or counting from one to five in Latin sounds like slightly butchered Spanish.

A vast majority of our own dictionary is derived from Latin. We are exposed to Latin everyday in terms of phrases on our currency, state mottoes, common terminology (et cetera, alter ego, vice versa, carpe diem, etc.), medicine, and even popular works. Ever wonder from where the random spells from Harry Potter were derived? Much of them are Latin. “Expecto patronum,” for example, translated from Latin is “I await my guardian.”

So it’s not as irrelevant as it once seemed, now is it? That’s what the Latin students, including those at Bob Jones, realize.

“You can see Latin’s affect in a range of different cultural things. Modern politics and ancient Rome’s politics- the division between the Optimates and the Populares, the two party system and how well that worked out- is something I definitely see parallels between,” said Congo.

Across the state of Alabama, Latin students met in Birmingham for AJCL (Alabama Junior Classical League) and competed in events ranging from athletics to art along with everything in between. Several awards were awarded to our own students (an inclusive list shown below). One of the awards presented was the Praytor Scholarship, which was made in the honor of a Virginia praytor who taught Latin in Alabama. This $500 scholarship was awarded to Shandi Burrows.

I was not expecting my scholarship at all,” explained Burrows. “AJCL had not given it out for a few years and Congo nominated me without my knowledge. I handed him the microphone so he could announce something about national convention coming up and he made me stay on the stage with him. That is when he announced that I won and I would receive 500 dollars! I was crying a lot.

Also given was the title of First Vice President to Holly Powell.

“I decided to run because I’m so involved. It helped me see that it wasn’t just me who cared so much about this and enjoyed being involved. Also just seeing how much of a family everyone was made me want to be a part of that,” said Powell. “It’s pretty cool how you can see the connections you make on a daily basis, ‘oh, this is where we get that word!’ or ‘this is why we do this or where this comes from.’ It is pretty helpful with a lot of other subjects like history, medicine, or grammar.”

Whether or not Latin is suited for you is a decision you must make for yourself. You may even decide not to learn another language period. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, their own opinions and preferences, and that is alright. It is what makes us human. Regardless of your answer, however, Latin is not a language that should be seen as any less significant than the other not-dead-languages we see today. After all, Latin is far more influential (even more so than commonly spoken languages) to our lives than most give it credit for.

“Latin helps with analytical skills in a way that you don’t have in a lot of other places. That is a reason why I think it is such a benefit,” explained Congo. “A lot of people question ‘why take Latin, what’s the point? It’s not like you’re going to talk to anybody,’ but around here, of course, nobody ever questions ‘why did we build a rocket to go to the moon?’ Yeah, we found out that the moon had rocks, but it was the process in getting there. It was all of the technology, and all of the things that developed in out process of getting to the moon. That’s how I view Latin.”




Alex Simmons – 1st Musical Chairs

Alex Simmons – 3rd Shot put



Shandi Burrows – 1st Customs

Claire Dieselberg – 2nd Customs

Nolan Drummond – 2nd Mythology

Ryan Reyes – 2nd History



Jocelyn Dieselberg – 1st Colored Pencil

Jocelyn Dieselberg – 2nd Watercolor

Claire Dieselberg – 1st Handmade Pottery

Dalia Altubuh – 1st Acrylic

Lael Anderson – 3rd Greeting Card

BJHS Latin Club – 3rd Place Scrapbook



Holly Powell – 1st Vice President AJCL

Shandi Burrows – Praytor Scholarship