Grant Funds Enrichment Opportunity for Students at Bergen County School

World language students from the Academy of the Holy Angels spent an enriching day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, thanks to the Latin Resource Grant secured by Mrs. Lilah Katz. Katz, who teaches Latin at AHA, obtained the $600 award from the Classical Association of the Atlantic States, Inc. Funds covered transportation and museum admission.

NOTE: The images/photographs were taken weeks before the COVID-19 social distancing requirement.

"The grant made the trip possible because, with it, our students had no expenses other than lunch," Katz explained.

Katz arranged the visit for her Advanced Placement Latin 5 and Honors Latin 3 and 4 classes.

AHA Italian language teacher Lisa Betti brought her AP Italian class. Since transportation was covered, Betti paid her students'' admission using funds she obtained from another source.

The group included Isabella Cardamone of Glen Rock, Samantha DeMartino of Nutley, Sophia Luongo of Upper Saddle River, Joanna Scorese of Mahwah, Ashley Toscano-Vasquez of Fort Lee, Rachael Boardman of Saddle River, Shannon Garrity and Isabella Darmanian of Old Tappan, Meredith Joseph of Suffern (New York), Peyton Stewart of Harrington Park, Alexandra Terjanian of River Vale, Ciara Wacker of Emerson, Kristin Anderson of Cresskill, JaeMin Chu of Tenafly, Olive Lee of Teaneck, Antonia Mysliewiec of Cliffside Park, and Camille Rivas of Guttenberg.

AP Latin students spent the day considering art inspired by "The Aeneid," Vergil's epic poem.

"In Latin, there are not a lot of audio-visual materials," Katz said, highlighting the importance of viewing items inspired by classical writers.

Prior to the trip, Katz chose specific pieces from the Met's exhibit and asked her students to locate these works. Once they found the selected items, students answered questions and sat and read passages from "The Aeneid" that relate to the sculpture, painting, or other art forms.

"Students from Latin 3 and 4 focused on art that relates to Ovid's's ''Metamorphoses.'' They chose a piece of art currently on display that depicts a scene from ''Metamorphoses,'' and gave a five-minute presentation in front of the artwork," Katz said.

"They read the scene in Latin and translation. The students ran with it. Some found other elements to include in their presentations, such as other passages from ''Metamorphoses,'' or showed another work by the same artist."

AHA students also visited the Greek and Roman wing, where they sketched artworks and answered questions that encouraged them to view the exhibits through the lens of history and literature, Katz noted.

The group found a coin minted by Julius Caesar that depicted Caesar's's ancestor Aeneas fleeing from Troy with his father on his shoulders and carrying the household gods to show Caesar's divine lineage and justify his right to rule.

Katz sees the value of allowing students to experience art and culture. Students learn to catch classical and biblical allusions and make interdisciplinary connections.

"It enriches your life. It fosters intellectual curiosity," she said of the excursion. While at the Met, Betti's students conducted an in-depth study of four Italian paintings, concentrating on Venetian artists.

"The class recently studied the artistic, linguistic, geographical, and economic importance of Italy's Veneto region," Betti explained. She said her students observed three Gian Lorenzo Bernini sculptures and marveled at how he created the illusion of motion from a single marble block. They also viewed other Italian and European paintings and a new British art installation.

"A trip to the museum is an excellent opportunity to experience the world through the artists' eyes. For example, we observed a painting of an 18th-century carneval celebration in the countryside, and a panoramic painting of St. Mark's square.

The students were amazed that it looks almost the same after 300 years," Betti reported. "For a few of my students, it was a first visit to the Met, and it offered a glimpse of what is available to explore there. They also appreciated that you could only see a few things at a time because the emotional effects can be powerful and exhausting."