Camp will explore all things Roman

WEYBRIDGE — Most students yearn for that final school bell to ring in June, signaling the start of summer vacation.
But for Weybridge’s Alexia Hernandez, the summer simply ushers in new opportunities for academic pursuits. This year, it’s a Latin culture and language camp that the 16-year-old will be teaching for free at Weybridge Elementary School from July 8 to 19.
Hernandez, daughter of Weybridge School Board member Michele Hernandez, just completed her sophomore year at Deerfield Academy, where she is currently working toward a Classics diploma. Her favorite subjects have included Latin and Greek, two ancient languages that are steeped in culture, mythology, geography and other elements that can offer intrigue and excitement for kids and scholars alike.
“Languages have always interested me,” Hernandez, who is also fluent in Spanish, said on Tuesday.
Her parents have cultivated that interest, first by sending her to a Spanish immersion program for grades 1-4 while they were living in Oregon. She was able to continue her language studies upon moving to Weybridge for the 5th grade, as the local school offers Spanish instruction.
As Hernandez moved into the middle school grades, she developed an appreciation for Latin, which although not spoken anymore is still at the root of the world’s Romance languages. It also provides an entree into the rich Roman history, the classics — by such luminaries as Cicero, Virgil and Tacitus — and mythology.
“Since you can’t speak it, a big part of Latin is the history of it,” Hernandez said.
She’s enjoyed learning about Latin and all its trappings, laying a foundation for her 11th grade studies in Italy next year. In the meantime, she wants to share that interest with other young students through the camp she will offer next month. Made possible through a scholastic grant she secured for supplies, the Latin culture and language camp will convene for two daily, hour-long sessions at Weybridge Elementary.
The first session (9 to 10 a.m.) will be for kids in grades 1 to 3 and will focus on Greco-Roman culture and mythology. Children will be exposed to legendary characters such as Hercules while learning about Caesar and ancient Rome, among other things.
The second session (10 to 11 a.m.) will cater to kids in grades 4 to 6 and will offer opportunities to learn Latin language, culture and history.
Hernandez has consulted with several educators — including Middlebury’s Frankie Dunleavy — in putting together her teaching plan, which she wants to be fun; it is, after all, a summer camp experience.
Weybridge Elementary School Principal Christina Johnston is allowing the camp to be held at the school for free. Hernandez expects some sessions will be held outdoors in nice weather. And since each session lasts only an hour, participating kids will still have ample time to do their usual summer activities.
“Morning is the best time to hold a camp,” she said.
It’s a camp that should also help Hernandez grow as a student.
“I think you learn (the subject matter) better when you teach it,” Hernandez said. “And I have to create a good way to teach it.”
Those interested in the camp may contact Hernandez at [email protected] or at 545-6888.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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