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The Aquilian

Mr. Cardozo helps keep classics alive

Mr. Carl Cardozo poses for photo with his students, taken last school year. (Photo by Ms. Laura Hudson)

Mr. Carl Cardozo, classical languages teacher, first fell in love with classics as a young kid when he saw the movie Jason and the Argonauts‘. After seeing the Hydra, the popular Greek mythology sea monster, he immediately became interested and thought to himself:  how can I get more of this?

Since then, he has been bringing his passion for Latin and Greek mythology, a subject that nowadays is often overlooked and forgotten, to Gonzaga. Students have been learning the classics for thousands of years, but in today’s world, it is declining because Latin is no longer spoken. That is why Mr. Cardozo and his dedication to carry on the tradition is much more important.

“Latin is so much more than vocabulary words and declensions. It is a chance for kids to get in touch with people thousands of years ago and see their thoughts and words,” Mr. Cardozo said.

During the class, not only do students learn about ancient Rome and its culture, but they also study mythology, of which Cardozo puts great emphasis on. He admits that is how most students learn to love classics. Many kids grow up reading series such as Heroes of Olympus starring Percy Jackson, and it is during Latin class that they rediscover their love for mythology. He uses these interesting myths to engage his students and get them to enjoy what they are learning. 

“Some of my favorite lessons are when we look at the labor of Hercules or different monsters in mythology,” Mr. Cardozo said.

Mr. Cardozo mentions a specific project he started last year where students make Roman shields and they eventually all form the testudo, or shield wall, which was used in Ancient Roman warfare. He uses these types of projects to engage his students when learning about ancient cultures, something that isn’t always that easy. 

Learning the classics gives students a unique opportunity. They are learning a part of history that thousands of generations before them studied. Classic teachers like Cardozo pass the torch onto their students in hope that they will take the knowledge they learned and will someday use it. He emphasizes the lessons embedded in the teachings that have to do with everyday life. The universal stories that are taught would simply not have survived this long if there wasn’t something there that could help in real life. Classics teach kids to not only study and get good grades but to think with a purpose and discover their creativity. 

“The purpose of classics is not necessarily to train you in skills. This isn’t a job market, but rather we are imparting things that will make you think more deeply about your own life in terms of virtue and philosophy. My hope is that classic students will be able to decipher later in life what is good and evil, what is knowledge and what is justice,” Mr. Cardozo said.

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