Latin program discontinued at LHS due to low enrollment, inability to hire certified instructor


Shannon Worley

During former Latin teacher Emelia Osborne’s Latin class, senior Brigid Ogle works on a breakout box project with the help of Osborne.

Jack Daws, Opinions Editor

Students who had been enrolled in Latin courses at Lafayette were left without the option to continue in those programs this year after low enrollment led to the elimination of a full-time option for the previous teacher in that position.

At the end of last year and faced with only a part-time schedule, Emelia Osborn resigned from her position. 

Despite the efforts of the administration to find a new way to teach Latin, the third and fourth levels of the program have ultimately been eliminated.

Guidance Department Chair Nicole Buesse said, “Unfortunately, the State of Missouri had not graduated a teacher in several years with a Latin teaching certification. However, the job was still posted with the hopes that we would find a current Latin teacher wishing to relocate, but we didn’t have any applicants.”

Principal Karen Calcaterra said no candidate applied for the position, so Lafayette worked to investigate some online options for students.

Lafayette administrators initially believed they had found a solution through MOCAP and Mizzou Academy, which together offered four years of Latin online.

“Unfortunately, we were made aware right as school was starting that they had cut their Latin program leaving us without level 3 or 4 options,” Buesse said.

Calcaterra said Mizzou dropped those programs this year because they were doing a curriculum rewrite. Then, she said they found a vendor in Wisconsin that offered online courses up to Latin 3 for students as a possibility.

“However, when we contacted them, due to COVID and increased online enrollment, they were not taking out of state enrollments this year,” Calcaterra said.

Buesse said next, Lafayette reached out to Marquette High School to see if some of our students could attend their Latin classes.

“They only had space to accommodate our AP students, so we were left in the undesirable position of effectively cutting Latin 3 and 4 this year,” Buesse said.

This turn of events was frustrating for Latin students who wished to continue in the program.

Senior Brigid Ogle, who was planning to take Latin 4 this year, said, “For me, it’s personally sad because of [Emelia] Osborne leaving. She was my favorite teacher, but as far as the actual program goes, I really miss learning about the language and Roman culture.”

In addition, losing out on the additional years of a language course has caused complications for students who counted on those credits for college.

Junior Christina Long, who had planned to be in Latin 3 this year, said, “The elimination of Latin 3 has led to an absence of three years of the same language, a requirement for some of the colleges I have been looking at for years, and the constant back and forth of it all caused a ton of anxiety.”