About 90 families from The Rumson Country Day School tuned in to watch RCDS Latin teacher Dr. Stephen Gaetano proudly address his students during a virtual awards ceremony held on Thursday, May 7, to recognize exceptional performance on the National Latin Exam. About 140,000 students participated in the 2020 National Latin Exam this spring, including 96 students from RCDS, the vast majority of which achieved scores that exceeded national averages for the second year in a row.
“Because the students had worked so hard preparing, I was confident that they would do really well,” said Dr. G. “Nonetheless, the actual results astonished me. That initial feeling of surprise quickly turned into joy and gratitude. I'm fortunate to have such amazing students.”
Ninety-five percent of the RCDS seventh graders and 88% of eighth-graders garnered accolades for their exam results including perfect scores, outstanding achievement, and achievement. Typically, under 50% of students taking the National Latin Exam are recognized for these accomplishments.
While campus is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, educators like Dr. G have embraced the challenge to address the needs of their students in new and innovative ways.
“After all their hard work, I just couldn't let the accomplishments of the students go unrecognized,” said Dr. G. “I thought a virtual ceremony would bring us all together in a cheerful way.”
Known for incorporating creative elements of fun into his instruction, Dr. G inspires distinctive engagement and a passion in his students. It is not uncommon to find him or his students dressed up as superheroes or using props to enhance a vocabulary lesson. In classic Dr. G fashion, he streamed the awards ceremony from his home office donning a white toga and leading an interactive trivia game in which students were given the opportunity to exhibit their mastery in the Latin language, history and culture. He delivered a speech in Latin with his son by his side to translate and closed the evening by announcing each students’ name and recognizing their individual honors.
"Being your Latin teacher is one of the greatest joys of my life,” Dr. G announced in his closing statement. “It would've meant so much to be together to celebrate, but I hope this has shown how proud I am of you."
- Awards & Accolades