Plurimas tibi gratias agimus, Travis, who has written to us after, as he notes, one year of carefully mulling over and polishing his submission! It was well worth waiting for this reply, I think, because his words do speak to where many of our freshmen will be when they enter: wondering about the place of Latin in their educations, but eager to learn and to see where it will take them.
Travis Gonzales writes:
It has been nearly a year since Dr. Yarbrough asked me to write something for the Classics Department’s blog. During that time, I told myself, “I’ll do it this weekend.” Obviously, this never happened since you are reading this now. Even as I write this, I’m not exactly sure what I should say. Anyone familiar with the Classics department at AMU knows how the department speaks for itself in its scholarship and in its attempt to bring the Classics to our present day. Nevertheless, I feel as though I should say something about AMU’s Classics Department and its influence on my career.
A little bit about me. I attended Ave Maria from 2007-2011. I graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy and a minor in Latin. Like many freshmen at Ave, I hated the fact that Latin was a core requirement. In high school, I breezed by Spanish, not because I am a native Spanish speaker, but rather, the curriculum was quite frankly a joke. It was not until the end of my Spring semester in 2008 that I began to see the beauty of studying classical languages. Dr. Dinan held an out-of-class seminar where we read selections from Augustine’s Confessions. It was this seminar that encouraged me to minor in Latin. The process was very long and very arduous. For the native English speaker, Latin can be very challenging and at times, it may seem unconquerable. To those students still taking Latin, I’m here to tell you that it is possible to grasp the language!
After graduating from AMU, I chose to attend the University of Dallas for a M.A. in Humanities. Although I have not taken any more Latin courses since AMU, the language was helpful in learning German as part of the requirements for my Master’s degree. Although there are many differences between the two languages, grammatically, my Latin background provided me with the habit of waiting for verbs, knowing the importance of noun genders and declensions, etc.
My Latin minor also helped me secure a teaching position at Prince of Peace Christian School in Carrollton, TX. Prior to my position at Prince of Peace, I taught Latin at Faustina Academy, a K-12 school ranked in the Top 50 Catholic High Schools by The Cardinal Newman Society. My position at Faustina was the starting block for an unexpected career. This summer, I was hired as the new Latin teacher at Prince of Peace, a school striving to bring education into our present day by using iPads and Apple TV in the classroom. Although using this technology in the classroom will be a new experience for me, I am excited to use modern technological advancements to teach a language and culture thousands of years old.
To close, I’d like to thank my professors from AMU and the support they provide their students to be successful in their studies. Without your encouragement, I can honestly say I would not be where I am at now.
– Travis Gonzales, AMU Class of 2011