HAGERSTOWN - Want to get into a serious debate with Joseph Scheer about whether the study of Latin still belongs in Washington County classrooms?
Careful ... you'll probably lose.
Even though Scheer is retiring after 26 years of teaching Latin and English at North Hagerstown High School, he still firmly believes in the value of studying this so-called dead language.
"Latin is so interesting and it's everywhere," he said.
Look at graduation, which is derived from the Latin word meaning an arrangement or classification into grades according to size, Scheer said.
"Valedictorian comes from 'vale' meaning goodbye and 'dict' which is speaking," Scheer said.
A Philadelphia native, Scheer attended the University of Pennsylvania, Temple and then Georgetown.
"I was a professional student for a while," Scheer said. "I went into teaching to influence others."
Now 71, Scheer's main area of teaching interest was at first social studies, which he taught in high school for three years. For seven years, he was on the faculty at Gettysburg (Pa.) College where he taught political science.