Thursday, July 08, 2004

Room 212, Central High School

I suppose it has always been a Latin classroom. I have heard it was a Latin classroom when it was Tuscaloosa High from 1954 to 1979. And it was MY Latin classroom when I was a discipula (student) of Magistra McNair in the 1980s. It was a Latin classroom after I graduated. And lo, and behold, it was again MY Latin classroom when I returned as the Magistra myself in 1992. Many students memorized the ins and outs of Latin grammar and vocabulary in Room 212. The conjugation that every Latin student knows--amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant--practically reverberated in that room because it has been chanted so many times over the past 50 years.

And I hope just as many Latin students were regaled with stories of ancient heroes, supreme engineers, and crazy emperors.

It wasn't much to look at, yet it enchanted me into an ancient world I did not know existed. One wall was a solid block of huge windows that looked down on the gym. The front wall held the required acres of green chalkboard and yellow chalk dust. Then there was the bulletin board wall complete with photos of trips to Italy--Rome, Pompeii, and Sicily. And on the back wall was the largest map of the Roman Empire I had ever seen. It was, in fact, epic in proportions such that one could see the entirety of the Roman Empire.

I was saddened to see it torn down for the progress of the 21st century so that a new Central High School could be built in its place. I wonder if Latin will ever be taught in that new building? I don't think Latin is being taught anywhere in town except at TA now.

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