List of 6 members.

  • Matthew Wellenbach 

    World Languages Department Chair
  • Anthony Cavet 

  • James Dempsey 

  • Gabriel Verdaguer 

    Teacher - World Language
  • Laura Connor 

  • Paul Rufo 

World Languages

Salve! Ni hao! Hola! Dia dhuit! Ciao! The Department of World Languages at Catholic Memorial believes that language and communication are essential and universal parts of the human experience. Through our curriculum, we introduce students to new languages (Latin, Mandarin, and Spanish) and cultures (ancient Roman, Chinese, and Hispanic/Latino), and students develop varying degrees of proficiency, from basic to fluent.

We also supplement our core language offerings with electives in Irish and Italian, two languages and cultures closely tied to the history of CM and the city of Boston. Our teaching is grounded in the belief that the acquisition of a new language is a multi-sensory process, and we accordingly emphasize the skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. In our classes, students learn to communicate in their language of study; appreciate and understand new cultures; draw connections between their study of language and work in other disciplines; make comparisons between different languages and cultures, and recognize the role of language in forming community. Equipped with new knowledge and enriched by their classroom experiences, our graduates are prepared to enter a world beyond CM that more and more demands citizens who are competent in multiple languages and sensitive to a diversity of cultures.

Course Offerings

List of 23 items.

  • Introduction to Latin

    Students will be introduced to the Latin language and culture. Introduction to Latin seeks to improve English vocabulary through word study. The course focuses on the study of Roman History and Mythology through Latin readings.
  • Latin I

    Students will choose this first-year course to develop the ability to read and comprehend Latin through studying vocabulary, rules of grammar, and language syntax. Latin readings and English essays on Roman life, history, and mythology will help develop their knowledge of Latin culture.
  • Latin II (Honors)

    In this second year of Latin, students will continue to delve into the basics of Latin grammar, vocabulary, and syntax through classwork, independent projects, and papers. Translating of adapted Latin readings will also be a large part of the class.
  • Latin III (Honors)

    The historical and political life, culture, and influence of the ancient Romans during the late republic and empire will be studied through readings and oral presentations. Students can expect to translate authentic passages of ancient texts to demonstrate their ability to understand and interpret the Latin passages.
  • Latin Virgil (Honors)

    In this course, students study the legends and history behind various readings and start to appreciate the literary style of the poetry selections. Students will translate selections from Virgil’s Aeneid connecting the historical accuracy and mythological references. Students will continue to explore the genre of epic poetry.
  • Classical Mythology

    Students will explore connections between the stories of various cultures and historical periods and examine how cultures are similar and different in the answers they offer to life’s essential questions. Readings and discussion will include creation myths, the hero’s cycle, epic tales. This class is taught in English.
  • Spanish I

    Students will be studying the language and culture of the Spanish speaking world in this highly interactive course. The course stresses the four language fundamentals of listening, speaking, reading, and writing as well as immersing into the culture that surrounds us with song, dance, role-playing and more.
  • Spanish II

    This challenging course encompasses new vocabulary and grammar, including several new tenses, both simple and compound. The flow of this course is rapid and interesting. With visits to the Innovation Lab and kitchen, students can expect to be immersed in the language, history, and culture.
  • Spanish III

    This course offers a continued emphasis on speaking, writing, listening, and reading in Spanish. Taught in Spanish, students will read selections based on Spanish and Spanish-American life and reflect both in writing and speaking.
  • Advanced Spanish Honors

    Offered as an honors course, students will take this class in preparation for Advanced Placement Spanish. Throughout the year students will focus on linguistic accuracy through discussion, debate, and general Spanish conversation. There will also be a strong emphasis on reflective thinking and proficient communication. Students can expect to explore art, literature, poetry, economics, and history of the Spanish-speaking world.
  • Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Culture

    The goal is to improve students’ ability to communicate at a proficient level in Spanish while simultaneously preparing for the AP exam. Interpersonal, interpretive and presentational modes of communication will be explored while addressing the following themes: Beauty and Esthetics, Families and Communities, Personal and Public Identities, Contemporary Life, Science and Technology, and Global Challenges.
  • Exploring Spanish-Speaking Countries through Culture

    This course is intended to further explore the different cultures among the Spanish speaking countries beyond the knowledge students have gained in their previous Spanish classes. The primary focus will be on holidays in Spanish-speaking countries; what are they? How are they celebrated? Who celebrates? Why are they celebrated? How do they affect the culture? Etc. This class will be taught primarily in English.
  • Mandarin I

    While learning the basic structure of spoken and written Mandarin Chinese students will explore the art of calligraphy and dedicate notable time to developing a strong foundation in writing Chinese characters. In addition to language development, students will explore various cultural topics including contemporary Chinese history, gastronomy, and current affairs.
  • Mandarin II

    As an intermediate course, students will be introduced to new vocabulary and grammar structures while improving their speaking and writing abilities. Further exploration into the Chinese culture will be done through readings on traditional Chinese medicine, China’s minority groups, and ancient Chinese history.
  • Mandarin III

    This course continues to develop students’ reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Students begin to use more advanced vocabulary and grammar structures. This course puts more emphasis on writing and oral presentations in Chinese.
  • China Since 1900

    This course will follow the tumultuous and dynamic trajectory of China since 1900. The course will cover history but will focus primarily on literature, film, art, and culture as a means of exploring the country’s growth and the popular and governmental reactions to it. This class will be taught in English.
  • French III

    This course is designed to provide a review of the four basic skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing, with significant emphasis on reading and writing. A concentrated effort is made to bring students to a level of confidence whereby reading in the target language is used as a basis for oral comprehension, speech, and written expression.
  • Advanced French Honors

    The objective of this course is to expand upon the four basic skills of language learning, using standards established by College Board. This course, taught solely in French, is geared towards those with a strong interest in the French language and culture that surrounds. French grammar and literature will be covered at length.
  • Advanced Placement French

    Students who enroll in AP French should already have a good command of French grammar and vocabulary and have demonstrated competence in listening, reading, speaking, and writing in French. Materials will include audio and video recordings, films, newspapers, and magazines. Students enrolled in this course are expected to take, and pass, the nationally administered AP French language exam.
  • Irish Studies I

    Whether you have Irish in your blood or not, this elective course will open your eyes to the rich language and culture of Ireland. Learn about the connections between Ireland and America by studying the history, music, and sport which have shaped our mutual heritage. Recognizing that a land without a language is a land without a soul, students will learn the basics of the ancient Irish language with an emphasis on conversation.
  • Irish Studies II

    Offered as a continuation of Irish Studies I, students will continue to explore deeper into the history and culture of Ireland. In addition, students will gain a larger vocabulary and conduct conversations in Irish by the end of the class.
  • Italian I

    Who doesn’t love a good pasta dish? In this elective class, students will jump right into basic grammatical structures and vocabulary. Italian culture such as, art, food, history, music, and literature will be studied. There will also be an emphasis on Italian immigration to the United States. This class will be taught according to a modified language immersion model.
  • Italian II

    This class picks up where Italian I left off and continue to include vocabulary and grammar concepts. Students can expect to expand their knowledge of the culture and history through debates and class discussions conducted in Italian.

About Us

Catholic Memorial, the Christian Brothers School of Boston, prepares boys for college, manhood and a world full of unknown challenges, ambiguity and complex problems and the importance of relationships.


235 Baker Street
West Roxbury, Massachusetts 02132
Phone: 617-469-8000
Fax: 617-325-0888