Molly Konopka, Classics (Middle and Upper School)
Molly Konopka, Classics (Middle and Upper School)

Hometown: Orchard Park, NY

Degree(s): AB in Latin from the University of Pennsylvania; MA in Latin from Fordham University


Why is it important for today's students to learn Classics?

Classics is really the basis for all aspects of Western civilization. Latin (with German) is one of the most influential language families in the development of English. The students in Latin class learn grammar and good writing skills, and they come to understand the importance of word choice and details. The history of the Romans changed the complexion of Eastern and Western Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. The writings that we read highlight the development of laws and customs that we value in the United States even today. The Greeks and Romans were the original believers in the importance of strong mind, body and spirit, which we at Episcopal value.

In what ways do you see students develop and advance in your class through the school year?

I love to see the development of students from Middle School into Upper School. It is amazing to see the change in the students' minds from very concrete thinkers in 7th grade to more abstract thinkers in Upper School. Right now I have some students in AP Latin (Latin 4) that I taught in 7th and 8th grade. To see how agile they are with translating, writing, and defending their thoughts in astonishing. Though Classics in not fully responsible, it is certainly a strong influence in the way students write and appreciate verbiage and written expression. By the time students work up to AP and Honors Latin 5, they are truly artists with words and writing.

How has an EA education benefited your own children?

The Episcopal Academy molded and molds my children's views of education. The two that have graduated can attest the value of our nurturing and challenging environment. This has led both being comfortable approaching their college professors and developing strong educational relationships. Our workload and demands fully prepared my children for the demands of the university environment. They are taught to read and write with clarity and to defend their thoughts with sound rationale.

Most importantly, our teachers and coaches have fostered a strong development of a well-rounded pursuit of the students' interests. Nellie is indebted forever to the hard work of our Art Department. James was well-trained by a variety of coaches throughout his years by the Athletic Department. Both benefitted from the demands and patience of all of the History, English, Science, Religion, and Math teachers who held them to higher levels than they could imagine for themselves.

Who is the "typical" EA student?

The "typical" EA student is a young person with an open mind who is willing to be challenged and stretched. He or she makes great demands on him/herself in the classroom, in athletics, and in the Episcopal community as a whole. Episcopal students are aware of their responsibilities to the world and are willing to give of themselves to make their school and their community better. They value the talents of their peers and respect the strengths of the adults in the community, whether teachers, coaches, or counselors. In our world of conflict and hardship, they are empathic to the challenges of people in need and communities in distress.