Student wins scholarship in support of Classics education

Jonathan Langerak won a $1,000 scholarship to support his study of the Classics.
Jonathan Langerak won a $1,000 scholarship to support his study of the Classics.
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Grand Valley student Jonathan Langerak, from Zeeland, is a recipient of the 2012 Manson A. Stewart Scholarship, awarded by the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS), an academic organization that focuses on the study of ancient Greece and Rome.

Langerak studied Latin for two years while enrolled at Covenant Christian High School, in Walker, and continued with private classes during the summer. He also enrolled in a Latin class during his first semester at Grand Valley, where he intended to major in history and perhaps become a teacher. But that first Latin class led to another and other courses in the Classics. Now a junior Classics major and philosophy minor, he intends to pursue pastoral ministries after graduation.

“Two of my uncles attended Grand Valley and highly recommended it — and its Classics program — to me,” said Langerak. “Both of them became ministers and impressed on me the value of studying the classical languages of Greek and Latin, especially Greek, which is the language of the New Testament.”

The study of Classics, said Langerak, also enables us to see that the ancients valued knowledge for the sake of knowledge, and offers an opportunity for us to see how little we know, although we often think we know a great deal, and how much we can learn. It stimulates the joy of learning for the inquisitive and serious student.

“I’m a bit old school in that I see the value of education as something more than a means to make a living,” he said. “I take great joy in the love of learning and being a good and serious student. College is a wonderful opportunity to explore many interests and develop a greater understanding of many different subjects. Grand Valley’s liberal education approach supports that ideal.”

Stewart Scholarship recipients receive $1,000 to support their study of the Classics during the 2012-13 academic year. Langerak, the third Grand Valley Stewart Scholarship recipient since 2009, is one of six winners announced March 31 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana during the 2012 CAMWS Annual Meeting. CAMWS, founded in 1905, is the largest regional classical association in North America, covering 32 states and three Canadian provinces.