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This year, the National Latin Exam committee has informed Townsend Harris that it has received the highest number of gold medals of any school in the world.
In total, 425 Harrisites sat for the 2016 National Latin Exam early this March, and out of these students, 410 received an award. There were 292 Gold Summa Cum Laude Awards, 84 Silver Maxima Cum Laude Awards, 24 Magna Cum Laude Award, and nine Cum Laude Awards. In the midst of these marks were 48 perfect scores.
According to statistics from previous years, in 2014, 284 students received Gold Summa Cum Laude, 137 Silver Maxima Cum Laude, 48 Magna Cum Laude, and 27 Cum Laude. In total 497 students received accolades out of the 528 students who took the exam. While the cutoff scores for the different awards vary slightly each year, they mostly remain consistent. The awards depend on the number of questions that the students get incorrect.
This year, in order to receive a gold medal, students taking the Latin I test were allowed a maximum of four questions wrong, while the students taking the Latin II test were allowed five. For a silver medal, the Latin I exam permitted five to seven incorrect answers, and the Latin II permitted six to nine. Lastly, for the Magna Cum Laude award, the Latin I test allowed for eight to nine wrong answers and the Latin II allowed for twelve to thirteen. Those who do not meet these cutoff scores received a certificate of participation.
The Latin teachers were astonished and proud by the news they received from the NLE regarding the gold medals.
Latin teacher Sara Laderoute said, “This was the first year actually that we have had the highest number of gold medals in the world; that has not happened before.” The NLE is international and students in New Zealand, Switzerland, Zimbabwe, Guam take the exam. Ms. Laderoute encourages students to take it because it measures how much the students know nationally.
“I am excited and proud, and not at all surprised,” Latin teacher Jonathan Owens remarked. “There are always one or two questions which are mean, but this year’s test was comparable and on par with previous exams,” he continued.
The Latin students were pleased with the record as well and for the most part not surprised. “The students in this school seem to work really hard, so I’m not that amazed by the news. I think we deserve it,” stated sophomore Halima Tokhi.
“We don’t have to take the exam, [but] it is in your favor. We make it mandatory so you can see how well you’re doing,” Ms. Laderoute commented. Although students don’t take a regent for classical languages, Ms. Laderoute commented that it “shows that you’re not afraid to challenge and willing to take risks to test yourself.”
Junior and Greek student Michal Davydov added, “I think it’s important to take because you figure out where you stand and how much you’ve learned throughout the year. “
Ms. Laderoute concluded, “I know the worth of my students. I’m greedy I expected even better. Dr. Largman used to say, ‘We don’t demand excellence, we expect it.’ I’m not surprised I expected it.”