Five Latin teachers in northern Virginia formed a committee to write and administer the first National Latin Exam in 1978. Eta Sigma Phi has already recognized three of these “founding mothers” with Lifetime Achievement Awards: Jane Hall (2006), Sally Davis (2010), and Christine Sleeper (2010). A fourth member of the team, Maureen O’Donnell, unfortunately died of cancer in 1989, long before we could recognize her with this award, but now we honor the fifth “founding mother,” Linda Sharrard Montross, at whose home the first exam was written by this team of remarkable women. During her professional career, Linda has devoted many years of service to the National Latin Exam, most recently as co-chair of the Steering and Writing Committee. In this position, she has become the face of NLE at meetings of classical professional organizations like the Classical Association of the Middle West and South and the Society for Classical Studies (formerly known as the American Philological Association). At these meetings, Linda enthusiastically promotes the exam to teachers, not only in high schools, but also at colleges and universities. In fact, Linda has been an enthusiastic advocate for administering the exam at colleges and universities as an opportunity to recognize student achievement. Under her leadership, the number of colleges and universities administering the exam has grown significantly in recent years.
Linda has been in our profession for 46 years, teaching and tutoring students at various levels. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts from Oakland University in Rochester, MI, in 1969, and she began teaching immediately in the Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, a state that is very active in Classical Studies. Linda continued her education by obtaining a Master’s of Education in Latin in 1976 from the University of Virginia. Since 1969 to the present, Linda has dedicated her life to the teaching and tutoring of Latin at various schools and most recently at the Chesapeake Academy in Irvington, VA, as a sixth grade Latin teacher. She used to take students to Italy and Greece from 1972 to 2000 and continues to be very active with presentations at various meetings and conferences. She serves as the Secretary of the National Committee for Latin and Greek, as co-chair of the NLE, as member of the committee that writes and produces the NLE, and as scholarship liaison for the NLE. A few weeks ago, Linda was inducted as an honorary member of our own society by the Beta NU chapter of the University of Mary Washington.
Linda also finds time to occupy herself with various hobbies, like quilting, bridge, golf (her husband Walter Moss used to be the Golf Course Superintendent at Westwood Country Club), tea parties, and boating. She is simply amazing. Her motto encapsulates a life of service, copious giving, and fun” “Fair, Firm, Flexible, Forgiving, Friendly, Fun, and Frequently Foolish!” Let us all thank Linda Montross for the many things she has done for Classical Studies, for Lating and Greek! Plaudite quaeso, Linda Sharrard Montross.