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Latin Teacher

2019 Tadler Grant Awarded to Cori Russo

Date: 
Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Tadler Grant, established by former GUS Trustee Richard Tadler and his wife Donna (P '05 '09), offers extraordinary professional development opportunities to exemplary GUS teachers - who bring those experiences and learnings back to the classroom. From attending educational conferences led by Stanford professors to traveling to foreign countries to run arts programs, the Tadler Grant has offered GUS teachers a wide range of amazing experiences in its ten years.

We are pleased to announce that the 2019 Tadler Grant awardee is Upper School Latin Teacher, Cori Russo. Russo came to GUS in 2016 after teaching at Lynn Classical High School, where he received the 2015 Latin Teacher of the Year honor. He is a frequent conference presenter and has presented by invitation at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, Tufts University, the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association, the Paideia Institute, and the Classics Department of the University of Massachusetts Boston. At GUS Mr. Russo is known for his dynamic teaching that really brings Latin alive. His passion for the language and the creativity in his lesson planning allows students to connect with the language. It is not surprising that Latin is a favorite subject here at GUS.

This summer, Mr. Ruso will travel to Rome, Italy, to explore and document the remains of major buildings, archaeological sites, and monuments in and around ancient Rome. Read more about his plans below.

Q: Why Rome?

CR: In my first year of graduate school I went on a trip to Rome and Pompeii. It was an amazing time packed with lots of learning, but since I wasn't a Latin teacher at that point, I didn't have much of an idea of how I could use the experience to improve my pedagogical approach. Since becoming a teacher I have wished on almost a daily basis that I had taken more pictures of specific dig sites, locations, buildings, art objects, and inscriptions, all of which I could use with my students to deepen their learning. The Tadler Grant is giving me the opportunity to return to Italy after several years of teaching, with a new perspective on what students find interesting and on what would be useful to bring back for the classroom.

Q: Tell us about your plans for the trip!

CR: The plan is to start in Florence, which was at the heart of the Renaissance and played a major role in promoting the use of humanist Latin as the international language of Europe. The next stop is Campania, where the main attractions are Pompeii and Herculaneum, both of which were preserved by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and are indispensable resources for the study of Roman daily life. The trip ends with several days in Rome, enough time to visit major sites like the Forum, the Capitoline and Palatine hills, the Baths of Diocletian, the Colosseum, and the Vatican Museum, which is packed with many of the great works of art that survive from the Classical world.

Q: What do you hope to learn?

CR: I'm looking forward to learning during every moment of the trip: one could easily spend a lifetime in Italy and never stop learning about ancient, medieval, and Renaissance history. Everywhere you go is packed with history. My most concrete goal, though, is to take high-quality photographs of the sites and objects that I have been wanting to show my students for years now. That way, for example, when I assign an 8th grade student their building for the Rome project, I can provide them with a picture of the modern remains and say, "This is literally what your building looks like now-- and if you're lucky, someday you can go see for yourself!"

Q: What are you most excited about?

CR: I'm most excited to go back to important archaeological sites and museums knowing what I know now about my students' interests. Of course it was fun to wander Pompeii as a graduate student, but now I can walk around with all questions my students always ask about Latin and the ancient world in the back of my mind. I'm also looking forward to seeing Florence, which I've never visited before. As I tell my students, Latin lived a second (and perhaps even more influential) life in Europe during the Renaissance, and Florence played a central role in that process, so I'm looking forward to exploring the city and visiting as many museums as possible.