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Denebola » Alissa Sage http://www.denebolaonline.net The Award-Winning, Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School, Newton, MA Fri, 17 Jun 2011 02:00:19 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.2 Faculty Focus: Alice Lanckton http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/faculty-focus-alice-lanckton/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/faculty-focus-alice-lanckton/#comments Mon, 06 Dec 2010 07:10:55 +0000 Alissa Sage http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5162 “In my day you were allowed to do one thing at a time, Alice Lanckton said, referring to her early years in teaching.
Though she is now known as South’s beloved Latin teacher, Lanckton has filled various positions leading up to her current job.
After receiving an undergraduate degree from Vassar College and completing one year of graduate studies at Harvard University, Lanckton took on her first job teaching the subject that had captivated her in high school: Latin.
After marrying and having her first child, Lanckton began working part-time at a Jewish religious school and then went on to teach Geography and History at the Schechter Day School for several years, while also going back to graduate school for nine years to get her doctorate.
This learning is quite characteristic of her career in general. “It is both challenging and rewarding to need and continue to learn, Lanckton said.
Ready to take her career to the next level, she took a Vice Principal position at a Boston area public school for six years and was then Principal there for one year.
“Hats off to Mr. Stembridge and Ms. Scott, Lanckton said, explaining challenges of being in administrative position. “[Being a principal] just wasn’t as satisfying [as teaching itself], she went on to explain.
Eager to return to teaching, Lanckton began teaching Latin at South, where she has been for the past nine years.
Lanckton’s unbounded admiration for her tenth grade Latin teacher, Dr. Kovach, led Lanckton to want to emulate his teaching style.
She explained that at her high school, studying Latin was quite commonplace and that Dr. Kovach was known throughout the school as a wonderful teacher.
“[Dr. Kovach] didn’t just teach Latin, Lanckton said, commenting on her teacher’s proclivity for not only teaching her students the subject in question but also for enlightening them about present day culture and life lessons in general.
Many of Lanckton’s students are quick to share these same sentiments about her. “She always corrects our etiquette, senior Jacob Gilbert said. In addition to improving her students’ manners, Lanckton also updates her students on cultural happenings in the greater-Boston area, and even educates her students about love (you may have seen her students’ beautiful Latin valentines around the school).
With an ancient language such as Latin, one may expect difficulty in keeping students’ attention. However, Lanckton attempts to make all of her lessons enjoyable by employing a variety of teaching methods.
Whenever Lanckton brings out the word “boards, her students race to the windowsill to grab their mini whiteboards, markers and rags and begin declining their I-stem nouns.
Additionally, her students love using flyswatter games to learn vocabulary and her original songs to learn Latin grammar (Exempli Gratia: “BA-BA imperfect and “Oh Beautiful with Ablative)
Her students’ favorite homework assignments are derivatives which entail finding English words derived from Latin vocabulary. This is one of the many ways in which Mrs. Lanckton attempts to make Latin applicable to their every day lives. Students also study “Latin in English phrases such as Persona Non Grata, Veni Vidi Vici, or Lanckton’s personal favorite: Nunc Scio Quid Sit Amor.
She often tells her students that knowing such expressions makes them classy.
On a bulletin board outside her classroom hang the words “FREE SAT TUTORING beside a dozen of her students’ finest derivatives. Lanckton cites the fact that students who take Latin have an average verbal SAT score 170 points higher than that of the national average.
Similarly, Lanckton believes that studying Latin grammar offers insight into the mechanics of English grammar. Aside from learning new vocabulary and grammar, Lanckton is quick to point out that Latin is a “way to begin to understand the mind of another time.
To further achieve this goal, Lanckton assigns each one of her students a different aspect of Roman Culture to research and present to his or her classmates. This not only teaches them about Roman culture but also teaches them research and writing skills. Lanckton recalls her husband’s Latin teacher’s comments about studying the language, “The boys seem to like it. This is no longer true for Mrs. Lanckton’s Latin students today. Mutatis Mutandis.
An example of her students’ excitement for Latin is the Latin sing-a-long that she and twenty-eight of her students attended. On a Monday evening they boarded a bus and traveled to Brown University to partake in the singing of Latin Christmas Carols and Hymns.
This willingness to take time out of their afternoon reflects her students’ love for the language and the sense of community it creates.
Because she teaches nearly all of the Latin classes, Lanckton has the unique opportunity to teach students for three or four consecutive years.
“I love it because I get to see [the kids] grow up, she explains. In addition, this allows students to form bonds not only with Lanckton but with their whole class as well. “She always tries to create this family environment, senior Jacob Gilbert said. It’s unanimous: there’s never a dull moment in 6207.

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South speaks: Latin http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/south-speaks-latin/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/south-speaks-latin/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2010 06:05:32 +0000 Alissa Sage http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4914 My most meaningful academic experience in high school was taking Latin to fill my “world language requirement.
Freshman year I took both Spanish and Latin, but after freshman year I decided to drop Spanish and gear my focus towards Latin.
My friends used to mock me for taking Latin, laying claim that learning a “dead language was pointless, a sentiment to which I politely disagree.
For me, taking Latin was about so much more than just learning prefixes, suffixes and roots for my SATs. 
I started taking Latin in seventh grade, truthfully because I was fascinated with words and their origins.
At the age of five or six I began showing my curiosity for etymology; I was always asking my mother where certain words come from and why they sounded like they did.
I took Latin in ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade, and because they do not offer a fifth year Latin course, I am now a teaching assistant for the Latin 2 class. I didn’t want to give up this so-called “dead language I had been studying for five years. 
I have taken so much from my Latin experience.
Perhaps one of the most memorable aspects I will take from learning the language are the “Latin in English phrases.
At the beginning of each school year, we would get a packet filled with short Latin phrases whose grammar or vocabulary often corresponded to what we were learning in class.
I always loved when, after we finished learning about something confusing like gerunds or gerundives, Mrs. Lanckton would say “Okay kitties, let’s turn to Latin in English.
I learned all sorts of clever and witty phrases, like what to say when your great aunt twice removed who always pinches your cheeks comes to dinner (Persona non Grata- An Un-welcomed Guest).
Or to a doctrine that I often think about when one of my friends opens her tuna fish- a food of which I am not quite fond of- for lunch (De gustibus non est disputandum, There is no disputing about tastes), which has come to be known as the common motto: don’t yuck someone’s yum.
For me, learning is all about making connections, and Latin has allowed me to do just that.
Latin is a class combining Language, History, English and even Math (Roman numerals are HARD).
I have learned more about ancient history from taking Latin than I ever have from any of my history courses. In Latin class, I’ve read wonderful myths and learned so much about Roman and Greek gods.
I also have become a master at English grammar due to the fundamentals that I learned about Latin sentence syntax.
Yes, the language itself might not be used in daily conversation and could be considered “dead, but for me, it brought my education alive.

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British counselor finds friends at American camp http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/british-counselor-finds/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/british-counselor-finds/#comments Thu, 30 Sep 2010 05:03:21 +0000 Alissa Sage http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4691 This summer, I worked as a camp counselor at an overnight camp that I have been going to for nine years.
As a first year counselor, I was worried about who I would be working with.
In the beginning, we all stood in a circle and received a single earring. We were then instructed that whoever had the match to our missing half is our co counselor.
My nerves were calmed; I was quite relieved to discover that my co-counselor was Jodie, a tall and slim girl with bleached blonde hair. I was beyond thrilled to be working with Jodie. I loved her aura of calm collectability, her contagious sense of humor, but most of all I loved her British accent.
Each summer, my camp hires about 10 to 12 young women from an agency called Camp America so that they can have the opportunity to work as a counselor in the United States and travel after.
The international staff this year came from all different parts of the world including Israel, Scotland, Mexico, England, and the Ukraine.
Working with Jodie was an incredible experience.
Although she was 20 and I was 17, we formed an unbreakable bond that was blind of the three-year age difference. Within the first couple days of camp it was like we had been best friends our entire life.
Ironically, even though Jodie was older, it was actually I who taught her the ropes of camp and the strategies of being a new counselor.
At first it was hard. Not only did I have nine girls- none of whom had ever been to camp before- to explain the rules to, but I also had a co-counselor whom I had to fill in as well.
Jodie was, at the beginning of the summer, worried that the girls wouldn’t like her.
However, that sentiment proved to be completely wrong. Our girls adored Jodie.
As much as we taught her the culture of camp, she taught us the culture of her country. Our bunk would often pile on her bed and take “British Lessons, where Jodie would teach us that  “crisps were chips, “chips were fries, and “trainers were sneakers.
We had contests to see who could imitate the best British accent, poured over her British magazines, and devoured her English Chocolate.
Despite our many differences, however, I was surprised to find out the many similarities we shared, like our mutual obsession with the television show Glee.
The summer went by smoothly.
Jodie and I worked incredibly well together and were never afraid to confront each other about any issues.
Now that the summer has ended, I miss spending everyday with her, but I still keep in touch with her via Facebook.  Working with Jodie was an experience I will never forget.

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