To the Editor:
Our family lived in Riverhead for nearly 30 years during which time both our daughters attended the schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. My wife served on the school board and I worked in the arts program in the high school. We are more than familiar with the community and the school district.
At that time, and today, Riverhead was and is unique in the Latin program that it offers. I’m not aware of another public district in Suffolk County that has anything like it. But it is much more than simply a program that calls positive attention to the district, it is an invaluable addition to a curriculum that is constantly being pressured to move toward ever more STEM subjects.
While STEM is certainly valuable, an education lacking in the humanities deprives students of a knowledge of the true depth of life in all its wondrous facets. A real education is not simply about how to earn a living but how to live a meaningful life.
The study of an ancient language includes not only the mechanics of the language itself but a study of art, philosophy, culture, and more. Although a Latin student many never use the language itself (unless they go into the law or medicine or a classical field) they will certainly use, every day, the skills taught in the learning of the language. These include memorization, organization, critical and analytical thinking, and much more.
It is unfortunate in the extreme that the Riverhead School District is considering ending a program that adds so much value to their curriculum but that also gives the district the reputation of providing a unique opportunity for their students.
But then, in all of my years in the education field I did learn that school districts can often be shortsighted and far too focused on the wrong goals.
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