Making a Difference: Cody Smith

A Language of His Own

When Glasgow teen Cody Smith looks into the future, his career path is crystal-clear. Languages. When he grows up, he said, his future will definitely be rooted in world languages.

Cody SmithCody, 14, this fall is beginning his third year in KET’s Online Campus distance-learning Latin courses, a field of study he’s not only passionate about, but one that’s awakened in him a talent he never even knew he had.

“At first in Latin I, when we were just learning grammar, I wasn’t really passionate yet,” said Cody, who was enrolled in an academically accelerated magnet program at Barren County Middle School and will enter high school this fall.

“But after a while, when we started learning Latin vocabulary, I realized that I actually could do this — wow.”

Cody quickly dived wholeheartedly into the curriculum and now speaks knowledgably about the benefits of learning a “dead language.”

“You can look at any culture and their literature will say a lot about them. Roman philosophers express a lot of ideas that are actually derived from the Greeks,” said Cody, who has read Cicero, Virgil, Tacitus, and others.

“So, you can learn a lot about classical cultures reading it in Latin. It just opens up your mind to lots of things that you may not see — or understand — by reading translations.”

KET’s advanced courses, serving students in Kentucky and nationwide, have been offered in Kentucky schools for nearly 30 years. This year, the teacher-led, web-based instruction has been re-launched as Online Campus and numerous courses provide dual high school/college credit.

Online Campus is set apart from other online learning in its dedication to providing middle and high school students with personalized learning experiences that help them grow intellectually. Students work at their own pace, fulfill requirements for college admission, receive instruction designed to impact ACT and SAT scores, and prepare for college-level work.

This fall, the courses include Arts in Culture, Latin, German, Chinese, Spanish, and Economics. KET’s teachers are assisted by a cadre of tutors to ensure that the students are successful.

Many Online Campus students, like Cody, are highly motivated and enjoy self-paced learning.

“Distance learning really allows you to gain responsibility because you’ve got to keep up with the course,” Cody said. “So there’s a plus there for college — and it allows you to learn at your own pace and learn what is essential to you.”

Cody’s parents, Jason Smith and Denise Fugate — along with his stepparents — while familiar with his love of learning, have been amazed by Cody’s progress.

“I knew he was really good at Latin when we took him to Ark Encounter,” said Jason. “They have Latin Bibles, and we were admiring those — but I knew he was gifted in languages when he started reading them to me.”

Additionally, Cody has mastered French, even conversing with step-mom Natalie Smith, and reading French crime novels. And he’s signed up for Mandarin Chinese this fall in ninth grade — and a sign-language course this summer at the Glasgow public library.

“On his own time, he’s been teaching himself Spanish at home. Any time that he has free time, he’s reading books. He loves to be self-taught, on his own,” added mom Denise.

Cody’s parents credit KET’s Online Campus for their son’s success in advanced language — an educational benefit that often is not available in rural schools.

“I think it’s great they’re offering classes like this to kids that otherwise would not have this available to them,” said Jason. “Give them the opportunity to learn, like Cody!”

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