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Noblesville High School student excels in teaches herself Latin

By Mark Ambrogi

Sophomore Yilin Dwyer didn’t let the fact that Noblesville High School didn’t offer Latin deter her from pursuit.

The 16-year-old Taiwan native decided to start studying Latin the summer after her freshman year.

“I started because one of mom’s former students had been studying Latin for a long time,” Dwyer said. “I have an interest in Roman culture and history so I thought Latin would be a good fit. I have an interest in language. I also heard it will help me in my reading section in the SATs.”

Dwyer took the PSAT in eighth grade and won an award from Midwest Talent Search center but the score wasn’t as high as she would like

“My score wasn’t as high as I like it to be so I studying Latin so I could improve my reading score,” Dwyer said.

She got 72 on reading section in PSAT with 80 being the top score. The average sophomore PSAT reading score was 42.6 in 2014.

Dwyer took two tutoring sessions with her mother’s student. From there, she was on her own learning from textbooks.

“I’m currently in Latin Level III and I’m in Spanish III as well and I felt where are lot of similar grammar concepts,” Dwyer said. “A lot of the words are quite similar so it has helped me with Spanish vocab.”

Dwyer went to the State Latin convention in Fort Wayne in March 13-14, joining the Indiana Junior Classical League as a member at large. In Latin Level 1 competition, Dwyer earned first place in reading comprehension, two second place finishes in vocabulary and grammar, fourth place finish in derivatives, fifth in Roman history and sixth in the five disciplines mixed in one test. She is going to national convention in San Antonio this summer.

Dwyer’s mother Jeanette teaches Chinese at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School.

“I think her perseverance and determination to Latin on her own should be acknowledged and encouraged,” Jeanette said. What she does could serve as an example for students who would like to learn things schools can’t offer due to current curriculum limits. She’s a very determined kid and highly motivated.”

Her father Mike Dwyer, who adopted her after he married her mother, said she was the only at-large member at the convention.

Mike met Dwyer’s mother when both were teaching at Tech High School in Indianapolis where Mike still works as Japanese teacher.

“We were both single parents and we started our relationship then,” Mike said. “I have a son in seventh grade at Noblesville West Middle School.”

Dwyer and her mother moved from Taiwan to Indianapolis for sixth grade and they then return to Taiwan for seventh grade. They returned to settle in Noblesville in eighth grade, where Dwyer attended Noblesville West Middle School. Dwyer had begun learning English in elementary school in Taiwan.

“When I was in sixth grade (in IPS), the language took a little adjustment,” said Dwyer, who has a 4.619 grade point average. “But I think my education in Taiwan helped me deal with the rigor of my courses now.”

Mike said she is a better student than he ever was.

“It’s amazing how intrinsic her learning is and how self-driven she is,” he said. “I used to consider myself a hard worker. I like to take breaks, do some fun things, watch a little news, relax a little bit. But she gets right to work, often until late at night. I’ll be going to bed and her light will still be on and she’ll say ‘I can’t go to bed. I have to finish this.’ She’ll do homework a week before it’s assigned so she’ll be ready for lecture. Recently she fell behind and was actually doing the homework at the same time it was assigned and was besides herself. She’s really smart but I think her secret is just being such a hard worker and so dedicated. I had to go to Japan to learn Japanese. She just teaches herself a language and becomes competitive.”

Meet Yilin Dwyer

Birthdate: Nov. 10, 1998.

Activities: Sophomore Senator in high school’s student government. Member of Mock Trial team. Member of the school’s Quiz Bowl and Academic Super Bowl teams and an officer for Key Club. Also volunteers at Carmel Public Library and member of Teen Library Council. Tutors elementary school students in downtown Indianapolis once a week with Northview Church members. Also involved in church’s student ministry.

Hobbies: Plays piano, reading.

Future plans: Wants to major in math or science related field when she goes to college.

Best thing about living in Noblesville: “I like the school and the friends I’ve made. Once you settled in, it’s a comfortable place.”

Favorite restaurant: The Journey, 7155 E. 96th St., Indianapolis.

Favorite class: Computer Programming.

Favorite musician: Taylor Swift.

Favorite book: “I like Harry Potter a lot, it’s probably one of my all-time favorite series.”

Favorite TV show: Watches “Little House on the Prairie” with family.


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