Venerunt, Viderunt, Vicerunt

They came, they saw, they conquered.


Aden Leslie

Cambridge’s Latin club on a field trip to the Carlos Museum.

Zach Pascuzzi, Staff Writer

If one should walk by the Latin classroom, he or she might catch a glimpse of students studying vocabulary or translating texts – usual fare for a world language class.   

If they get lucky, however, they might catch them jousting with pool noodles in imitation of ancient Roman gladiators or walking around barefoot while chanting.  

Such is the kinesthetic, enthusiastic approach teacher Jeffery Davis uses to inspire his students to attend class and actively participate in learning and mastering a language that, at first glance, has run its course.  

“There’s no real benefit to being able to speak or write Latin because no modern society today uses it,” said Davis, who has taught Latin for 11 years. “The emphasis, then, has to be on teaching students how to apply what they learn here in our current world.”  

Being able to translate and understand words’ meanings is more critical than any other skill, Davis said, because most English words are derived from Latin.  

According to, about 80% of the entries in the English dictionary originate from Latin. 

“I’ve had students before that were taking high-level English classes come to me and tell me how thankful they were to be in my class, because the way I taught Latin vocabulary had helped them study English vocabulary,” he said.  

If students get nothing else out of his class, Davis said, he at least wants them to become better thinkers.  

Latin’s usefulness doesn’t stop at other languages.  

Senior Aden Leslie has taken Latin all four years he has been at the school and has found a way to apply it to his veterinary science studies.  

“There’s a lot of memorization that goes on in both of those classes. Knowing Latin roots has helped me remember names of diseases and vaccinations and a bunch of other stuff that comes from Latin,” Leslie said.  

As a self-described, avid history nerd, Leslie also said he appreciates how Davis incorporates the history of ancient civilizations and mythology into his teachings. 

“Some of my favorite memories in class come from when we celebrated ancient Roman holidays, especially Saturnalia, which is kind of like a Roman Christmas,” he said. 

On Saturnalia, which was held on Dec. 17 in Ancient Rome, social norms and traditions were overturned and a day of heavy partying, gambling, drunkenness and promiscuity would commence.  

Slaves even became free people for the duration of the celebration and their masters would provide meals for them.  

“We obviously don’t go to any of those extremes,” Leslie said, laughing. “But we give gifts, have a big party, mess around and tell jokes and just have a ton of fun.” 

Cambridge’s Latin program during its food drive for Bridge to Service Day. (Aden Leslie )

Leslie serves as the vice president of Cambridge’s Latin club, which is part of the Georgia state chapter of the Junior Classical League.  

He helped organize the club’s participation in the 2022 Fall Forum, an event akin to a state convention during which schools face off in a series of academic and sport competitions that have to do with the classical world.  

“What surprised me the most about [last] year’s Forum is how many people in the club showed up and how dedicated they were to their craft. It was just awesome,” Leslie said. 

Senior Aerica Worrell also takes Latin at Cambridge and is one of just two students in AP Latin. Like Leslie, Davis has been her teacher for the entire pathway.  

“Having the same teacher and classroom for four years helps you build up a personal relationship with other people in the class. It’s a sense of community you really don’t get from other World Language pathways,” Worrell said.  

Worrell is seeking to enter the law field and said her understanding of Latin has allowed her studies to go more smoothly because of how many English legal phrases come from Latin.  

“Mr. Davis is pretty much an academic father figure to all of his students,” she said. “He makes sure they’re doing well outside of school and engages them in class discussions. He’s really helped me prepare for my future.” 

Davis is more than pleased to know how much his students love his class. He makes sure to showcase their work around his classroom, such as a model labyrinth that Leslie designed and a ceiling tile of the Roman Colosseum that Worrell painted.  

His classroom motto, “OMNIA VINCIT AMOR,” stands over everything in huge wooden block letters. It translates to “love conquers all.” 

“Here, we’re a family. We celebrate each other’s successes and lift each other up when we have setbacks. That’s the most important thing to me, really,” Davis said.