After years of academic exploration, Zocchi bids farewell to Masters

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Courtesy of Ariana Copland

Zocchi (center left) with her daughter Ariana Copland '20 (center right) after she performed in the Upper School's production of Sideshow in February. Zocchi said some of her fondest memories at Masters are those she has made with her daughter.

Kate Sibery, Editor-in-Chief

Latin is sometimes ridiculed as a dead language by students who don’t take it, as well as some that do. Yet, those who have had Upper School Latin teacher Emily Zocchi recall the vivacity and immense passion she brought to the language. After 12 years working at Masters, Zocchi is departing from the school.   

Throughout her time, Zocchi has worked in many different capacities, going far beyond the Latin classroom. She fondly recalled memories of simultaneously teaching Latin, working as the Associate Academic Dean in the academic office and even teaching AP Art History for a brief time.  

“As crazy as that was, I was working in the academic office, teaching Advanced Topics in Latin, and Greek, and then picked up the AP Art History course. That was one of my favorite times because I was so busy but it was just so stimulating. I was having a great time with the students, challenging myself and it all felt worthwhile,” she said.

Zocchi was also instrumental in expanding the scope of Latin classes, and introduced ancient Greek course offerings.  

Chris Goulian, who served as Upper School Academic Dean from the 1990s to 2017, worked closely with Zocchi during her time in the academic office and pointed to her consistent dedication and devotion to her students’ learning. 

He said, “She was just a wonderful person to work with, and brought so much passion and excitement to her classroom, students and her work within administration.”

Tucker Smith, a rising senior who has been Zocchi’s Latin student for two years, shared a similar sentiment regarding her passion for teaching.

“Latin is such a small class, it feels sort of like a community and she teaches it in such a creative, unique way that makes it super enjoyable,” she said. 

Throughout her time, Zocchi devoted herself to making her Latin class an interactive and dynamic experience. She recalled one year, when her students expressed a desire to be outside more often, so she developed a unit on Latin and botany. 

She said, “I thought, ‘How can you take the Latin class outside and make it relevant and important?’ and from there was born a unit on Latin and botany. We went outside and identified trees and other botanical specimens on the campus and looked up their Latin names and went to the New York Botanical Gardens.”

Experiences such as that are what Zocchi feels made Masters an exciting place to teach. 

“I think one of my favorite things about working here [Masters] is how open the school was to trying new things, especially new things with an ancient language; so a lot of the special, experiential projects that we’ve done over the years really have a special place in my heart.”

Rising junior Annabel Fabian commented on how she will miss the enthusiasm that Zocchi shared with her class. 

She said, “Ms. Zocchi made Latin fun, which is quite a feat. I’m going to miss her, she brought such good energy to the classroom!”

Zocchi’s daughter, Ariana Copland, graduated from Masters with the Class of 2020 and she fondly remembered memories she shared with her daughter there.

Zocchi said, “It was really great and it made a really nice homey feeling when I would come back to my office and find either Ariana there or a half eaten sandwich that I knew must’ve been her. It just really made Masters feel like home.”