• Michelle Yancich
  • Senior, Pace Academy
Michelle Yancich

Michelle Yancich has a passion for Latin.

Michelle began taking Latin in sixth grade and immediately fell in love with the language. She liked the students in her class and enjoyed solving the puzzle that Latin’s grammar presented.

In the eighth grade, Michelle began attending Junior Classical League meetings, which is currently the largest classical organization. She is now a member of the executive board.

In 2008, Michelle started competing in competitions twice a year. Her team placed first in the state level competition and it became Michelle’s first Latin competition win.

Last summer, Michelle attended the Governor’s Honors Program.

“It was honestly one of the most amazing experiences of my life,” Michelle said. “I got to meet 15 other kids who were just as passionate about Latin and about 700 other kids who were just as passionate about learning.”

In order to be selected, Michelle had to go through rigorous process that included a school- and state-level interview. The state level was comprised of an interview and a test, during which students were required to translate poetry by the Roman writer and philosopher Lucretius. Questions were posed in Latin and the students were obliged to respond in Latin.

By taking part in the program, “I really solidified my love for Latin and my love for learning in general,” she said.

Elizabeth Kann has taught Michelle for three years and has known her through the Junior Classical League for five years.

“Lots of people see the classics as a dry, boring field, but Michelle brings a sense of fun and play to her study of Latin,” Kann said. “Her astounding perseverance and attention to detail are exceeded only by her boundless enthusiasm for everything classical and her genuine desire to learn.”

Outside school, Michelle enjoys the martial art of kung fu. “One of the most important things that it has taught me is balance between the mind and the body,” Michelle said. “It’s a good calming aspect. Sometimes when I’m stressed, it clears my mind.”

At home, Michelle enjoys playing the piano. She comes from a very musical family. Her parents play in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra — Michelle’s mom plays the violin and her dad plays the timpani, or kettledrum. Michelle says she enjoys the collaborative aspect of playing an instrument.

“I am very passionate about everything I do,” Michelle said. “I think it really speaks to who I am.”

What’s Next:

Michelle is applying to colleges in the north and would like to major in classics. After school, Michelle wants to teach Latin. “I can’t think of anything else I would want to do with my life,” Michelle said.