To the Editor:
I commend Michael Love on a very well-written and persuasive letter to the editor proposing additional creative programs to join existing outstanding programs in our Wilton Schools and calling for providing the funding for them.
Among his recommendations is the expansion of modern foreign language offerings, including specifically Chinese, a suggestion with which I certainly concur based on legal work with a number of Chinese clients in which having that kind of language education beginning in secondary school (or earlier) would definitely have been very helpful.
However, I disagree with his passing remark on that point that, “Not a lot of people are getting jobs based on their knowledge of Latin or Classical Greek.” I can personally attest that classical language education offered a great foundation for my legal work and, along with excellent secondary school English courses, helped to hone my writing skills.
And in fact, it so happens that our Wilton Schools are blessed with one of the best classical language teachers in the country: Max Gabrielson. That is not hyperbole; his national teaching award of several years ago confirms that statement.
Educator Gabrielson’s courses teach not only language but also history, culture, and philosophy — they’re total immersion — and they regularly garner the highest academically performing students in Wilton High School. Max speaks glowingly of their dedication to their work and their remarkable college-level accomplishments in it.
His students that I have known personally through church go on to premier universities, and one of them who graduated from Wellesley with a dual major in classics and biochemistry is now in medical school. She recently told me that research relied upon by med schools in making their admission decisions indicates that students educated in the classics, liberal arts and philosophy as well as in the biology and chemistry fields long required for med school admission make especially good physicians.
So while I applaud Mr. Love’s recommendations, I feel I cannot leave his passing remark on classics education unaddressed.