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Latin a dead language? That may no longer be the case in Riverhead

Following community outrage over a proposal to phase out a popular Latin program in Riverhead, district officials have issued a new job posting for the position.

The job posting, dated June 25, invites interested Latin teachers to apply by July 3, with an anticipated start date of Sept. 1.

“The district heard from many concerned parents and re-posted for a Latin teacher,” Superintendent Aurelia Henriquez confirmed Thursday. “It is our hope that we can find a highly qualified candidate who will assist the District with growing this program in the future. We recognize the significance of having a Latin program and would look forward to increasing enrollment and interest in learning the language.”

Earlier this month, parents of incoming seventh graders who signed up to take Latin earlier this year received a phone call informing them that their children must choose between Spanish or French instead.

While school district officials cited dwindling enrollment in the program, some parents say they’ve been concerned over the future of the program since longtime Latin teacher Jeff ‘Doc’ Greenberger announced his retirement last fall.

District officials had been considering a phase-out of the program starting this year, with Mr. Greenberger’s wife, Lorene Custer, taking over eighth-grade and high school level courses.

Change.org petition created by Riverhead graduate Colin Palmer to save the popular program garnered support from over 330 students, parents and alumni as of Thursday.

Dozens of alumni wrote messages of support on the petition website, crediting the program for laying educational foundations, opening doors and providing them with a better understanding of language and history.