they required you to take a year of Latin in order to sign up for any future romance language classes.
i don`t really remember a single word of the Latin from that year of "studies," truth be told, but i do remember that there were about eight of us freshman sitting around a heavy wooden table in a 100-year-old classroom, slate green chalk boards on three walls, and our very elderly teacher--so ancient that he seemed to have been one of the first hires at the school in 1810. What was particularly memorable about him was his serious narcolepsy problem. he`d be in the middle of "instructing," and then... nothing... eyes would close... just sitting there in his chair at the table. his head would tip a little to one side.
needless to say, as that semester wore on, we got more and more bold changing things around in the room while he was out cold. it was somewhat like musical chairs - you never knew when he`d wake up and mayybe catch you setting a chair in the center of the table to confound him upon waking up or maybe jumping out the window and running around the lawn twice before jumping back in the window in anticipation of him rousing.
in any event, it was at that very school that i did learn one Latin phrase - not in the narcoleptic Latin class but at a school-wide address when the headmaster, standing at a podium in the school cathedral, translated the Latin saying on our school`s crest:
first he said it in Latin with affect: Virtus Semper Viridis
then came the English translation: Excellence Always Growing
being the impressionable little kid i was, the phrase stuck with me for some reason. The idea that excellence was not something you achieve but something you strive for and nurture through all your days was brought into focus at that moment in that phrase. It has ever since been a favorite Latin expression of mine.
Wondering if any of you have your own Latin expressions you call "favorite"...
(Note: "Virtus," upon further research i just did online can also mean, "manliness, character, worth, courage." substitute as you deem appropriate!)
Rich Sloan , Co-Founder, Chief Startupologist, StartupNation