New Warren Scholarship at APSU honors longtime Latin educators
(Posted May 10, 2018)
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – In the summer of 1964, during a long bus trip to Illinois, two rival Latin students ended up sharing the same seat. Kaye Phillips, from Clarksville High School, and Grady Warren, from Hillsboro High School, had spent the past year trying to best each other at Junior Classical League (JCL) competitions around the state.
“At the state JCL convention earlier that year, it was the only time I ever tied her,” Grady said recently.
That morning in 1964, the two high schoolers were headed to the National Junior Classical League Convention, where they’d go up against 2,000 other top Latin students from around the country. As the hours passed, they ended up bonding over their passion for Latin, not realizing the whole thing was a set up.
“We found out years later that our teachers decided to play matchmaker,” Kaye said. “They made a rule that you could not sit with someone from your own school.”
Their teachers didn’t know it at the time, but they weren’t just playing cupid. By encouraging Kaye and Grady to sit together, those teachers helped save Latin in Clarksville, Middle Tennessee and much of the country.
“They have literally kept Latin alive in the schools around here for the last 40 years,” Dr. Tim Winters, Austin Peay State University professor of Classics, said. “These two people have trained so many Latin teachers and thousands of Latin students.”
The Warrens, who married in 1968, went on to teach at several local schools, including Clarksville High, Northwest High, Northeast High, Montgomery Central, and Rossview High. They produced talented students who helped boost Austin Peay’s small Classics program over the years, and in 2015, Winters decided to honor the couple by developing a scholarship in their name. He was told it might take a decade or more to raise the $25,000 needed for an endowment, but it only took 18 months. The University is now pleased to offer the endowed Kaye and Grady Warren Scholarship in Classical Studies.
Ed Long, a Clarksville High School Latin teacher and former student of the Warrens, helped raise the money by contacting the couple’s former students and colleagues around the country.
“Over the years, I put together an email list of people in Tennessee that know them,” he said. “Then there’s the people that know them from the national conventions. We just said, ‘Hey, there’s this new scholarship. Here’s the address.’ One man in Wisconsin sent in $10,000 on his own because of how he felt about the Warrens.”
In 1997, when Winters took over the Classical Studies program at Austin Peay, he kept hearing about two high school teachers who spent late nights and weekends helping their students prepare for JCL conventions. He then saw the results of this hard work when these young men and women ended up at Austin Peay.
“Their students are so good. Alex is a prime example,” Winters said, motioning toward Austin Peay Latin student Alexander Kee. In 2015, before Kee enrolled at APSU as a freshman, he earned first place in Advanced Latin Grammar at the National Junior Classical League convention in San Antonio, Texas. Earlier this year, he took second place in the nation on the annual Advanced Latin Prose Composition exam. That exam is given in universities from Princeton to Berkeley.
“I’ve worked very closely with both of them,” Kee said. “I had Mrs. Warren for freshman year, and Mr. Warren really helped me out during the summer. They are basically the reason I’ve done so well.”
The Kaye and Grady Warren Scholarship is awarded to a rising APSU sophomore majoring in some aspect of Classical Studies. Austin Peay offers degrees in Latin, Greek and Classics—a combination of the two languages—that prepare students for graduate study in languages and archaeology, for teaching high-school Latin and other careers. To contribute to the Warren Scholarship or for more information on the Classics program, visit http://www.apsu.edu/classics or contact Winters at email@example.com.