North American Scholar

MASCIANTONIO, Rudolph

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1940-09-28
  • Born City: Philadelphia
  • Born State/Country: PA
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 2016-09-22
  • Death City: Philadelphia
  • Death State/Country: PA
  • Education:

    B.A., La Salle U., 1961; M.A. U. Pennsylvania, 1966; Ed.D., Temple, 1978; cert., AAR, 1969.

  • Professional Experience:

    Latin, Spanish, French, & social studies teacher, Veterans Memorial HS (Camden, NJ), 1962-3; Latin teacher, South Philadelphia HS, 1963-7; curriculum writer for Latin & Greek, 1968; Latin teacher, Harrington School, Mitchell School (West Philadelphia), 1969-70; dept. head to curriculum specialist, foreign languages, Philadelphia school district, 1971-9; asst. dir. foreign lang. ed., 1979-83; dir., foreign lang,. education, 1984-94; board of directors, New England Conference on Teaching Foreign Languages, faculty adviser, Baltimore City College HS; faculty visitor, Valhalla HS, Creve Coeur HS; instr. Temple U., summer 1972; staff humanist, Inst. On Ancient & Modern Studies, summer 1973; adj. prof., consultant in classics, CUNY, Brooklyn, 1981-2; consulting evaluator, Westminster Latin Inst. 1983-4.

  • Dissertation:

    "A Description of Latin Programs, Grades 4-6in Selected Public Schools in Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles” (Temple, 1978)

  • Publications:

    The Classical Greek Program in the School District of Philadelphia (Philadelphia: School District of Philadelphia, 1968); How the Romans Lived and Spoke: A Humanistic Approach to Latin for Children in the 5th Grade: Romani viventes et dicentes (Philadelphia: School District of Philadelphia, 1968, 3rd ed., 1972); Voces de Olympo: Echoes from Mount Olympus: A Humanistic Approach to Latin for Children in the Sixth Grade (Philadelphia: School District of Philadelphia, 1970); Latin Materials for the Inner-City Public School (Oxford, OH: American Classical League, n.d.); A White Paper on Latin and the Classics for Urban Schools (Oxford, OH: American Classical League, n.d.);  Latin: The Key to English Vocabulary a Gamebook on English Derivatives and Cognates to accompany Voces de Olympo (Philadelphia: School District of Philadelphia, 1976); Tangible Benefits of the Study of Latin: A Review of Research (Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics, 1977); The Ancient Greeks Speak to Us: A New Humanistic Approach to Classical Greek and Greek Culture for Secondary Schools (Philadelphia: School District of Philadelphia, 1978); Star Trek with Numbers (Oxford, OH: American Classical League, 1980); Latin: The Language of the Health Sciences (Oxford, OH: American Classical League, 1992); Legal Latin (Oxford, OH: American Classical League, n.d.); Build your English Word Power with Latin Numbers (Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci, 1997).

  • Notes:

    Rudy Masciantonio served the public schools of his native Philadelphia from 1963 until his retirement in 1994. After taking his undergraduate degree maxima cum laude, he remained in Philadelphia for his graduate work. Beloved by his students who called him “Mr. Mash,” he pioneered in bringing Latin and Greek instruction to elementary-school students in the inner city. He developed materials and programs aimed at fifth- and sixth-graders, taught by itinerant teachers who would visit various schools in a day giving 15-minute lessons in etymology and mythology using poster-sized graphics (Romani viventes et dicentes and Voces de Olympo). He proved that Latin, long considered too difficult and elite for inner-city students, could actually improve their reading and vocabulary faster and greater than for the average student. He continued to contribute reports and materials in support of his views and made his materials available to those in other cities, where they proved effective.  In 1972 he began a second career as a property manager and landlord of 21 apartments he built on property he bought in an old part Center City, at Spruce, Pine, and 20th Streets. In June 2004 he was elected president of the HAPCO Homeowners Association, an association of landlords and property owners. 

  • Sources:

    WhWhEast 25 (1995-6) 722; Philadelphia Inquirer (23 September 2016).

  • Author: Ward W. Briggs, Jr.