Latin was pushed at my high/ preparatory school. A few fools told me that I'd need it if I ever wanted to become an attorney, and I was the bigger fool for taking two years of it after believing them.My Dear Old Ma survived a more rigorous academic program in getting her high school diploma than many people these days see in obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
She studied physics AND chemistry AND biology in high school, as well as Latin. But that’s been a long time ago. I don’t recall studying any of the “hard sciences” in high school, let alone Latin.
I’m familiar with a young man, an old friend’s kid, who dropped out of high school and later earned a GED. I know I couldn’t pass that exam without putting in several hundred hours of study. And even then it might take a second crack at it.
I’ve heard it too often opined by people my age that these days we’re graduating kids from high school who haven’t learned much. I’ve reminded them that when we were that age, half a century back, they gave us diplomas if we attended with something that might generously be called regularity and didn’t burn the place down. The stuff we got away with would in no way fly today.
My gut feeling was to take German instead. I should have listened to my gut. Had I taken four years of German instead I could have pursued my higher education in Germany for a fraction of the cost that I paid, and had a lot of fun consuming good German beer doing so. I can barely manage some conversational German: it's on my bucket list to find a community college to remedy that. In the meantime, it's good to know that if I ever have the opportunity to socialize with students in Hamburg, Heidelburg, or Berlin, I can hold my own with most of the verses of Gaudeamus Igitur.