In a time when rap and pop culture rules, it is a rare exception to find a student who has mastered an ancient language. Beacon student and Darien resident, Thomas Cortellesi, has accomplished just that, and earned a perfect score on this year’s National Latin Exam.
This year approximately 154,000 students from 49 states and 17 countries took the exam which consists of questions about grammar, vocabulary, derivatives, mythology, history and culture. The exam tests each student’s knowledge against Latin students from around the world. Fewer than 1,000 students globally earn a perfect score each year.
Thomas’ Latin teacher, Katherine Henderson, describes studying Latin as, “a singular academic pursuit in that it combines analytical thought, much like higher-level math courses, with culture and even poetry. Studying Latin is a challenge for the mind and teaches students to think and express themselves with precision and passion.” She attributes Thomas’ success to his broad knowledge of ancient history and culture, his excellent attention to detail, and his hard work learning his Latin forms and grammar.
At Beacon, students progress rapidly because of the exceptionally small class size. “We find that students at Beacon can make remarkable progress in language learning due to our individualized educational model and 1:1 attention," says Head of School Meredith Hafer. "Even so, Thomas's achievement this year was truly outstanding. We are very proud."
Beacon is an independent day school for intellectually curious students in grades 3-12. At Beacon, students with high average to superior ability have the opportunity to pursue their passions, discover new interests, and develop their talents in an enriched academic setting guided by the tenets of gifted education. Underachievement takes many forms: the A-student languishing in boring and tedious classes; the sensitive student shrinking in an unresponsive environment; the creative student whose voice goes unheard; the bright student who underperforms due to a lack of challenge and support. Beacon kindles engagement, enthusiasm, and enjoyment of learning by addressing the needs of the whole child through a highly individualized educational curriculum designed to meet each student’s unique goals.