Classics teacher Kevin Nolan is throwing himself into a host of wonderful new experiences. He just joined the Priory faculty, moving to St. Louis from Philadelphia with his wife Isabel and their three-month-old daughter, Josephine. He’s already fitting right in, having found a fellow coffee connoisseur in Father Augustine and looking forward to teaching his new students. “I loved my professors in college. They were excellent role models and inspired me to teach my subjects: Latin and Greek. When I started teaching I realized that it's something I really love doing. It’s a very noble profession, and I love interacting with the students. They bring a lot of joy to my life.”
Kevin hails from north of Oklahoma City, the seventh of 13 children. He said, “I’m in the middle, and when you’re in the middle you have to carve out your little space and guard it with your life. However, I wouldn’t trade it for a less crowded existence.” He remembers that there was always something going on at home with seven brothers and five sisters. “Our house was a hotspot of activities. We always had friends coming over; we’d ask my mom and she would say, ‘Sure…what’s five more people in our house?’” With two older brothers who are Catholic priests, a sister teaching English in Korea, and other siblings scattered across the United States, he doesn’t get to see his entire family much any more. He said, “We do all try to get back home to Guthrie around Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
Kevin earned a B.A. in Classics and Early Christian Literature from Ave Maria University, and an M.A. in Classical Studies from Villanova University. He’s taught Latin and Greek at all levels. We asked him why students should learn Latin, and he responded, “Well, there are practical reasons and not so practical reasons. In this day and age of economics and capitalism everyone always looks for some practical advantage as to why you should do something. So, practically speaking, the study of Latin enhances your knowledge of grammar (yes English grammar too!), refines your speech, and improves your memory. Latin is especially helpful for younger students because it is not structured according to a sequential word order like English. You have to stop and look at the whole sentence before you translate it. This makes Latin a wonderful exercise for kids because it forces them to think before they speak (which is actually something we all need practice with). Plus, you never get lost in a courtroom!
Less practically, it’s still the language of the Church. It’s the language of the entirety of Europe’s intellectual history. The giants of western literature are all written in Latin. They are well worth studying in the original language, because they are beautiful works of art. They really do have a lot to offer in terms of human experience, exploring the sorrows, the joys, and the trials of human life.”
When he’s not sharing his obvious love of Latin with his students, Kevin stays busy. He repairs the family cars himself, and has become quite adept at locating the best salvage yards and performing major automotive services like replacing the timing chain. He has recently taken up building furniture, constructing a cabinet for Isabel. “I built it, stained it, put the hinges on…everything!”
He really enjoys reading and watching football, hockey and NASCAR, although his workaholic nature means his efforts to continually be productive get in the way of leisure time. He loves playing games with his family.
Fun Facts about Mr. Kevin Nolan, Teacher of Latin and Greek
- He brings a French press in to school, and thinks Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is awful. Like Father Augustine, he says roasting your own coffee beans is the way to go.
- He ran a karaoke show for eight months when he was 21 and learned to karaoke really well. (You might try requesting Lights by Journey, or maybe even a Christina Aguilera song.)
- His favorite album is U2’s Joshua Tree. “It’s an awesome album…every single song is good.”
- He worked in the oil fields, likening his experience to living in the Wild West.
- He has taught drums at a performing arts studio.
- He can read Spanish (fairly well), in addition to teaching Latin and Greek.
Please welcome Kevin Nolan, his wife Isabel, and their daughter Josephine to the Priory Family and to St. Louis. He can be reached at email@example.com or ext. 111.