The Consequences of Latin’s Small Size


Tom Harris


Peter Jones, Co-Editor-in-Chief

With each edition, editors of The Forum try to bring a variety of news articles on Latin-centric topics, but oftentimes, “news” at our school becomes common knowledge within minutes. This consequence of Latin’s small, tightly knit community is only one of several, though. From athletics to social dynamics, the school’s small size impacts nearly every aspect of student life, in both good and bad ways.

For one, Latin’s small size impacts its culture surrounding athletics. Marianne Mihas, a junior and three-sport varsity athlete, said she feels as though “kids aren’t as outwardly proud to go to Latin” when compared to students of bigger schools. “We have two big basketball games a year and then homecoming, but that’s it. I think there are few better ways to bring a community together than by supporting athletics teams, and frankly, at Latin that just doesn’t really happen,” she said. 

Also, as junior Tom Santana said, at a small school, “if someone says something, it will spread quickly … everyone at Latin seems to know what’s going on with everyone.” Marianne aptly named this tendency a “sound chamber of gossip,” saying it’s “almost impossible to avoid, no matter how hard you try.”

College acceptances are no exception to the wildfire-like nature of Latin news. A panelist and Latin alum at a recent college counseling event for juniors notably mentioned that it’s “okay to celebrate” when you get into college–but the flood of Instagram stories that persisted throughout the end of the first semester was, to some, a bit much. 

Grace Lovette, a senior, pointed out some problems with the posts’ language, saying “you often see phrases like ‘you deserve this more than anyone’ and ‘best school ever.’” This rhetoric, she said, is harmful because it involves third-party seniors who might not have been accepted to the same school. “With that said,” continued Grace, “typically the posts are only meant to be supportive and don’t come off as a brag.”

With all of this said, though, these are ultimately tiny drawbacks to a setup that does help students a great deal–Latin’s 8:1 student-to-teacher ratio and 100% college matriculation rate are a testament to that. A small school brings a uniquely tightly-knit community with intimate class sizes and teachers that are often willing to meet, along with a whole host of other benefits.

But are Latin students coddled by this warm approach to education? Is this a culture of hand-holding that ultimately sets students up to fail in the less forgiving world of college and beyond?

Well, maybe the consequences of Latin’s educational style aren’t as great as one might think. As Lily Campbell, a freshman at Yale and past co-Editor-in-Chief of The Forum, said, “For me, Latin’s focus on small class size didn’t really help or hurt.” She still went on to explain that one notable benefit is “an increase in confidence regarding speaking aloud in class,” especially because “in college, some of your classes can be as small as 8 people with other classes being as big as 430.” However, Latin’s focus on meeting with teachers “most definitely helped for college . . . since I had been visiting teachers for help at Latin since 5th grade, it came easily to me and felt less daunting, a sentiment I tried to relay to my friends who were worried.”

Ultimately, no type of school is without flaws, and Latin students do, for the most part, find themselves in a remarkably nurturing environment. Regardless of whether Latin is “easier” than the real world, high school is a time for growth, and growth happens best when given the support system necessary for academic and personal success. Coddled or not, our most important job in this small community is to respect and help one another when stuck in the “sound chamber” that Latin has been known to create.