30 Jul 2020

Thursday 30 July 2020

On Wednesday 29 July, the Classics Department welcomed back six recent Old Collegians to speak to current students about how they are using Latin and Classical Studies at university.



The three former students of Classical Studies are all currently at the University of Auckland. Ella Marr (Taylor, 2014-15) is nearing the end of her LLB/BA with a major in Ancient History and hopes to combine her legal studies with her passion for the ancient world by moving into studying art crime and trafficking. Alanna O’Riley (Middlemore, 2014-15), having completed her BCom/BA conjoint, is now studying towards her Honours in Art History, with a particular interest in public programming and engagement. Tamati Panoho (Parnell, 2013-17) is a LLB/BA student majoring in Criminology; he has found Classical Studies invaluable in developing the skills needed for success at Law School and aspires to work in government policy and justice system reform.

Our three former Latinists came from further afield. Liam Campbell (Greenbank, 2013-17) is now completing a LLB/BA(Hons) in English Literature at Victoria University of Wellington and plans to work in the legal profession after graduation. Max Hardy (Peart, 2012-16) studied Latin and Classical Studies at King’s before heading to the University of Cambridge to complete a BA in Classics. He is returning there to take up a funded Master’s position later this year, where he will write his thesis on Latin poetry. Aidan Perkins (Peart, 2014-18) is in his second year of a LLB/BSC  conjoint at the University of Auckland. He hopes to combine the two by moving into environmental law, but admits he still misses his Latin!

In sharing their stories, all six emphasised the skills developed by these subjects, as well as the importance of following your passions when choosing your academic pathway. Current students appreciated the timing of this talk, given they are all now making decisions related to their school subjects or tertiary study in 2021.

“I’m thinking of taking Law and Criminology at university so it was helpful to see how Classics fit into that. A lot of people underestimate Classics as a subject but it really depends on people’s passion. To me, it’s more than just a subject and now I can see how it could fit into my career”, says Reva Vaai (Year 12, Middlemore), a current student of NCEA Level 2 Classical Studies.

For the teachers of the Classics Department, this forum was an excellent opportunity to show students the benefits of Latin and Classical Studies outside the classroom. Although the context of Ancient Greece and Rome is very specific, all six returning Old Collegians emphasised the skills they developed at school which they were able to apply to their tertiary studies: critical thinking, problem solving, essay writing, broadened perspective and effective communication in English.

“We were also delighted to see the passion of our students for the subject and how this is leading to their academic success at university. As well as inspiring our current students, hearing from our returning Old Collegians reminded us teachers about the impact our lessons can have long after the bell has gone”, says Lauren Lethbridge, teacher of Latin and Classical Studies. Although this is the first time the Department has held this event, it proved so valuable that it will become annual.