The Huntington UFSD’s Latin program reached new heights this year. Teacher Kristin Fortunato couldn’t be more pleased or prouder of her students, who excelled at both J. Taylor Finley Middle School and Huntington High School.
While it was once considered a “dead” language, Latin roared back to life in the Huntington School District several years ago and it has continued its renaissance in 2018/19. Several dozen Huntington students sat for the National Latin Exam and many of the teenagers garnered honors after notching impressive scores on the challenging test.
Huntington Latin teacher Kristin Fortunato.
“Nearly all students who opted to take the exam scored an award at the cum laude level or better,” Ms. Fortunato said. “Within those awards were 10 silver medals, 10 gold medals, three perfect scores and many ‘excellence’ ribbons.”
The exam is offered to students on seven different levels, including: Introduction to Latin, Latin I, Latin II, Latin III, Latin III/IV Prose and Latin III/IV Poetry. Questions focus on grammar, comprehension, mythology, derivatives, literature, Roman life, history, geography, oral Latin, and Latin in use in the modern world.
“The philosophy of the National Latin Exam is predicated on providing every Latin student the opportunity to experience a sense of personal accomplishment and success in his or her study of the Latin language and culture,” according to the initiative’s website. “This opportunity exists for all students since they are not competing with their fellow students on a comparative basis, but are evaluated solely on their own performance on the exam. The basic purposes of the NLE are to promote the study of Latin and to encourage the individual student.”
Finley Middle School students achieving the designation of Distinction on the Introduction to Latin exam include: Emma Waters, Katie Meagher, Tessie Maerz and Shane Luckow.
Finley Middle School students achieving the designation of Distinction with Honors on the Introduction to Latin exam include: Megan Donaghy, Laurel Bonn, Lauren Gennarelli, Sarah Krisch, Emma Glascock, Haileigh Smith and Liam Tucker.
Finley Middle School students who notched a perfect score on the Introduction to Latin exam include: Angie Hernandez-Ramos and Nadeera Ali.
Huntington High School students who achieved Cum Laude honors on the National Latin Exam include: Richard Rongo and Andrew Florvil
Huntington High School students who achieved Magna Cum Laude honors on the National Latin Exam include: Aidan Heller and Lauren Holly.
Huntington High School students who achieved Maxima Cum Laude honors and garnered a silver medal on the National Latin Exam include: Kyle Colleluori, John Krisch, Andrew McKenzie, Ryan Knowles, Alec Cordiero, Harris Levinson, Morgan Colleluori, Richard Zboray, Sophia Toscano and Sydney Cordiero.
Huntington High School students who achieved Maxima Cum Laude honors and garnered a gold medal on the National Latin Exam include: Ella Siepel, Chloe Buffone, Grace Collevecchio, Jake Burton, Alexis Kaloudis, Sabeena Ali, Ally Kustera, Nicolas DiPietro and Erik Flores.
Huntington High School students who achieve Summa Cum Laude honors with a perfect paper: Erin Ye.
LI Certamen Latin Contest
Huntington High School Latin students were sensational at the Suffolk Classical Society’s annual Certamen competition hosted by Stony Brook University. The event drew hundreds of participants from dozens of teams from Long Island’s public and private high schools.
Similar to a Quiz Bowl, but for teenagers studying Latin, the Certamen covered areas that included grammar, vocabulary, literature, syntax, mythology, Roman culture, history and word derivations.
Most of Long Island’s best Latin students vied against one another at the event, which featured teams of four squaring off against each other in a fast paced academic battle.
“Each level competes against teams from the same level,” Ms. Fortunato said. “This year, we placed third in Level I (eighth grade) and second in Level II (ninth grade). The competition for these coveted awards is very fierce. Students spend extra time studying for it.”
Huntington’s third place Level I Certamen team included Finley eighth graders Liam Tucker, Angie Hernandez-Ramos, Sarah Krisch and Lauren Gennarelli.
The Level II second place team featured Huntington High School freshmen Erin Ye, Erik Flores, Ally Kustera and Lauren Holly.
Latin Teacher Kristin Forunato
Faculty advisor to Huntington High School’s Latin Honor Society, Ms. Fortunato is also an advisor to the Class of 2020. She graduated from Plymouth Whitemarsh High School in Pennsylvania and went on to earn an undergraduate degree at the University of Delaware in Latin education with a minor in ancient Greek and Roman studies.
Ms. Fortunato obtained a master’s degree at Kean University in New Jersey in curriculum and instruction with a focus on teaching English to speakers of other languages. After completing her student teaching requirements at Kennet Square, PA, she taught Latin for three years at Rutherford High School in New Jersey. She came to Huntington UFSD in 2012.
Ms. Fortunato has gone backpacking through 11 different national parks. “I have a goal of going to every one of them,” she said. “My favorite is Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.”
A love for traveling has brought Ms. Fortunato to 14 different countries. “I look forward to adding England, Scotland and Ireland to my list this summer,” she said.
Gardening in her large vegetable garden/greenhouse complex is another of Ms. Fortunato’s interests during her free time. “I grow everything myself from seed every year and grow enough to feed my family for the whole summer,” she said.