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It was an age of heroes, of people we remember today as great warriors, people like Augustus, all the Roman generals. The language, as well as the culture, has been very influential on our own.

Ben Mize

KET Latin tutor

When 23-year-old University of Kentucky graduate Ben Mize thinks about his life in academics, it's not the dry, dusty tomes of an ancient, dead language he conjures up—but a living, breathing world of gods and heroes, and a culture that teems with modern life.

"There's the whole culture and mythology which is all very interesting—all the stories about the gods, the fall of Troy," said Mize, who double-majored in English literature and the classics.

"It was an age of heroes, of people we remember today as great warriors, people like Augustus, all the Roman generals. The language, as well as the culture, has been very influential on our own. So it's very relevant to study Latin."

What makes Mize different from other students who have fallen under Latin's spell is that he was first exposed to it as a high-school student taking Distance Learning courses offered by KET.

"When I was a sophomore at Woodford County High School it came time to pick a language, and I wasn't very interested in Spanish or French," he said. "But we had the KET program established at my school; I'd heard about it and had a friend go through the first two years of Latin so she directed me that way."

Mize has been working for the past two years as a Latin instructor for a Lexington homeschooling organization, and for KET as a tutor and assistant to KET Latin teacher Ann Denny. He's considering law school as well, but admits that he's discovered an affinity for teaching.

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"I've come to realize I really do have a passion for teaching," said Mize, who notes that school and the process of learning have always been very important to him. "It's something that really clicks with me. It provides an opportunity to connect in a very special way."

KET's Distance Learning lineup currently features three levels of Latin, plus Advanced Placement® Latin-Vergil, as well as German, physics, including AP® Physics B, and the arts and humanities. Since 1989, KET has provided high quality, standards-based classes to middle and high school students in Kentucky and throughout the nation.

KET's teachers, tutors, and staff, through a combination of the Internet, multimedia, and personal contact, provide a unique service designed to give students the direct instruction and support they need to succeed.

"These classes are for students who are serious about learning," adds Mize. "It takes someone willing to go to the extra effort to keep track of their assignments and to reach out for help when they need it. Each class has a facilitator who is there to help, but to be a good distance-learning student requires a lot of motivation and discipline. But it's well worth it."

KET courses offer students a multimedia approach to learning that includes video lessons streamed online or on CD-ROM or DVD, interactive activities on a companion website or CD-ROM, Skype lessons—and in the language courses, telephone tutoring and special social networking sites designed to enhance language acquisition.

"Some people say it's a dead language; nobody speaks it or uses it any more," notes Mize, who credits Latin with bolstering not only his language skills but also his analytical abilities.

"While it's not even true to say no one speaks it—there are people in Lexington who speak it, a community at UK who have a spoken Latin club—but even if it were dead, it's so useful in so many other areas. It's been such a big influence in Western culture. It's all around us."