PORT HENRY - It's all Greek to Levo Freeman. Which is fine with the Moriah Central School senior.
"It's so cool," said Freeman, who is part of the Ancient Greek Study Group at the school. "We're learning things that will help us in college and the rest of our lives."
The study group, under the tutelage of John Roemischer, is learning the ancient Greek language and culture.
"This is helping us learn higher level vocabulary," said Dylan Scozzafava, a Moriah freshman. "As we get into more sophisticated learning we see the advantages of knowing Greek."
English is a hybrid language, Roemischer explained. About a quarter of the English language has its roots in Greek with about half coming from latin and the remainder from Saxonian/German tongues.
"In geometry we see the word perimeter and find that the Greek meaning is to 'measure around" or 'enclose' an object," Roemischer said. "Periscope, peristalsis, periphery and many other English terms beginning with the letters p-e-r-i are rooted in this same term. Many terms in the sciences are rooted in Greek."
The study group includes five Moriah students and one from Westport. Freeman, Scozzafava, Jonathan Brassard, Cole Gaddor and Kyle Gifaldi are from Moriah. Scarlette Moore is from Westport.
"They are the most brilliant students in their schools," Roemischer smiled. "I greatly enjoy my time with them."
Roemischer is a retired professor at the City College of New York. He has lived in Westport the past 40 years, spending 19 years commuting to his job in New York City. Since retiring he has also worked at SUNY-Plattsburgh.
The Greek study group happened by chance.
"When I was 11 I really liked Greek mythology and wanted to learn ancient Greek," Moore explained. "One day my grandmother met Mr. Roemischer in the post office and asked him if he happened to know any Greek. It took off from there."
Roemischer began working with Moore. One day he visited his daughter who was then teaching math at Moriah.
"Her students asked me to help with their algebra and I couldn't," he said. "But I them them I could teach them Greek. I was surprised when some said they wanted to learn."
Besides teaching Greek, Roemischer is now working on a paper studying the concepts of violence in the Old and New Testaments that he plans to present at Oxford University in England. Moore is helping him with his research.
"She will likely be the youngest Westport student ever to be published in a scholarly journal," Roemischer remarked.