At an installation banquet earlier this year, the Opelika High School Latin Honor Society inducted several new members into the organization, following the group’s annual banquet held at the Western Sizzlin’ in Opelika.

This year’s speaker was Charles Livings, a professor in public communications with a focus on rhetoric at Auburn University at Montgomery.

Livings commended the assembled students for choosing to study Latin, saying it was a language that required dedication and hard work to master.

Livings cited statistics saying students who were educated earlier in life on foreign languages performed better academically, and showed increased scores on standardized assessment tests.

“Language is the key for us to understand what is going on in the world,” Livings said. “The value to us is that it expands our self and our self-awareness.”

Livings said that of the almost 20 million students who attended colleges and universities last year, only around 162,000 were enrolled in foreign language programs or majors.

“Less than one percent are studying languages critical to our national security, like Arabic or Chinese,” Livings said. “That should be enough to give you pause.”

Other new members not pictured above include Kadie Adams, Duncan Asbury, Caitlyn Daniel, Mallory Drummond, Jordan Green, R.J. Harris, Tori McIntyre, Jaz Moore, Jessica Parsons, Railey Smith and Brittany Woods. The adviser is Janet Smith.