Mr. Hopper joined FPD in 2013 and teaches Latin I, Latin II, Latin III Honors, Latin IV Honors, and AP Latin. He is known for a giant, hand-painted mural of the Mediterranean that spans his wall. He also advises FPD’s High School Chess Club, which has done extremely well this year. Most recently the team won 1st place at a February tournament by the Chess Empowerment Association of Middle Georgia. In the individual competition, the team had five out of the 6 ranked places. They are going to Atlanta on Saturday, March 17, to participate in the GA State Team Championship on the campus of Emory.
We met up with Mr. Hopper to find out a little more about why he loves Latin, Chess, and teaching at FPD.
Why did you choose to study Latin?
My language journey started with ancient Greek. After that, biblical Hebrew seemed like the obvious next step (so that I could read all the Bible in its original language). Then I decided that if I wanted to have a true mastery of the ancient/biblical world, I had better also learn Latin and Arabic.
You are known for having an amazing mural in your room, what inspired the mural and how long did it take to create?
When I accepted the position, I immediately began trying to find ways of making a room a time-machine. I wanted students entering my room to feel like they jumped backwards 2,000 years. The map idea was most of all practical: I want my students to have an intimate familiarity with the Mediterranean world. But I wanted it big enough that a student all the way across the room could see and appreciate what would be involved in a trip (on foot) from Athens to Corinth (which would be two dots on top of each other in a poster-sized map), like the one the Apostle Paul took, which meant my map would have to be enormous. In total, it took 16 months (May 2013 to August 2014).
What do you hope students take from your class?
Learning is its own reward. Knowledge is a priceless possession and a life without it is not fit for a human.
When did you start playing chess and how did you grow to love it?
I learned how the pieces move in high school but never played any real games. When some students at FPD decided they wanted to form a chess club, I volunteered. Then I began seriously trying to improve so that I could be of some help to students who don’t have a ton of experience.
Why do you think FPD is a special place to work?
Our Administration has integrity and sincerity. It’s easy to work hard for people you admire.
Little known fact about you: I am a switch-hitter in baseball.
Favorite book or series: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Hobbies: Playing piano and the acoustic and electric guitar; listening to records and CD’s.
Favorite place to which you have traveled: Paris and the Roman forum.
Favorite Bible verse: Romans 12:9, Love must be sincere: hate what is evil; cling to what is good.