For those of us who love languages like Latin and Greek, and for those of us who despise these languages but have to learn them anyway for graduate studies, you might find inspiration in Veronica Shi of Princeton.

Shi, a major in classical literature, was named the salutatorian of the 2011 class. She came from having no background in Latin to being awarded the first A+ in an upper-level Latin course. Shi will deliver her salutatorian (just a notch under valedictorian) speech in Latin at the Princeton commencement and will go on for a graduate degree in classics at Oxford.

None of us will probably ever go on to read Homer or Cicero, and none of us will probably even wow our professors in our Greek and Latin classes. Yet, it is possible to find passion at least to learn Greek and Latin, even if it means learning them just to pass the test. Yet, who knows—maybe one of us will wow our professors and make an important contribution to either or both languages. Also, Oxford still would not be a bad choice from which to earn a graduate degree.

Read the story on Veronica Shi here.