Alice Kemp is Fintona’s very first and only Latin Teacher who began here in 2014. Latin was a compulsory subject in Year 7 when Alice went to school and she instantly fell in love with the language of Ancient Rome. While at university, Alice wrote an Honours thesis in Italian on Dante’s Inferno and looks forward to returning to Italy to practise her Italian. She is currently completing a Masters in Latin education.
You chose to become a Latin teacher. What led you to this decision?
I loved Latin right from my first exposure to the language which was in Year 7 and teaching Latin seemed to be a way of getting to know it even better! I like the historical aspect of the language and enjoy the grammatical challenge of unlocking meaning in any given sentence.
What do you think the students get out of learning Latin?
They gain a deeper knowledge of the English language and Latin gives them an excellent grounding in second language acquisition, in particular Romantic languages.
Your Latin classes are not just about learning Latin but about gaining an appreciation of life during the Roman Empire. What cultural activities have you planned for your students?
The Latin students celebrate two festivals – toga day (also known as Liberalia), to mark the coming-of-age of a Roman boy when he assumed the white toga of manhood, and the Vestalia, a festival sacred to the Vestal Virgins who tended the perpetual sacred flame housed in the Roman forum. In both ceremonies, the girls don Roman attire and enjoy Roman-style food. These festivals are very much enjoyed by the students.
You are running ‘Fintona Funfit’ classes for senior school students after school each Thursday. Is this another interest?
Yes. Keeping fit and active is another interest of mine and I find that exercise is an excellent way to de-stress and take stock of life!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love swimming (most days I swim at my local pool) and also reading, generally novels. Charles Dickens is one of my favourite authors and I have read all his novels.