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U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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U-High alumnus to give Princeton salutatorian speech in Latin

Currently+a+senior+at+Princeton+University%2C+John+Freeman+has+been+selected+as+salutatorian+of+his+graduating+class%2C+and+plans+to+deliver+the+full+speech+in+Latin.
Midway Staff
Currently a senior at Princeton University, John Freeman has been selected as salutatorian of his graduating class, and plans to deliver the full speech in Latin.

For his senior May project, John Freeman decided to teach himself Latin. 

He was already taking ancient Greek with U-High language teacher Daniel Ristin, and Greek Literature and Translation with world language teacher Frances Spaltro. John graduated from U-High in 2020, so with his senior year being completely by distance learning, he decided to learn the language with guidance from Mr. Ristin.

Now a senior at Princeton University, Mr. Freeman has been selected as salutatorian of his graduating class, having studied the classics over the course of his time in college. He’s taken Latin and ancient Greek classes and studied in both Rome and Athens — and is now writing his senior thesis on the ways in which objects play into the concepts and memories of history.

“It can be more valuable to have objects together to understand them in tandem rather than isolate them in a small museum somewhere,” Mr. Freeman said. “So, approaching objects in a way that appreciates the complexities.”

But as salutatorian, Mr. Freeman has quite an unusual task ahead of him for his speech — it’s going to be completely written and read aloud in Latin. 

“The way it works is that a copy of the speech is distributed to all the students with, like, laughing cues,” Mr. Freeman said. “So it’s like, you should, like, laugh here, or boo here. But then the joke is that it looks like all of the graduating seniors understand Latin, when all their families are just like, ‘What is going on?’”

Mr. Freeman believes that he connected with ancient language almost immediately upon discovering it because of how profoundly it allowed him to comprehend a time that seems so impossibly long ago. 

“Over the course of all of that, I sort of realized how important language is to connecting to a culture, whether that culture is ancient or modern,” Mr. Freeman said. “So, the reason I enjoyed working with the languages so much is that it allows for just such a deeper access and understanding of the ancient world.”

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Light Dohrn
Light Dohrn, Assistant Editor
Light Dohrn is a member of the Class of 2026 and a Midway assistant editor. As a ninth grader, she joined the journalism team during the 2022-23 school year. Her favorite piece she has written for the Midway is “Through authenticity and humor, biology teacher inspires passion among students.” Outside of journalism, she enjoys Middle-Earth fantasy books and Tarantino films. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, Boston convention: Excellent, review writing 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Honorable mention, press law and ethics

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