Faculty Spotlight: Cory Landrum
Father Gabriel Richard High School teachers are dedicated and caring, and bring unique approaches and techniques to their classrooms. They all share the common mission to help form the next generation of Disciples of Christ and prepare our students for their futures. Faculty Spotlights are an opportunity to learn a bit more about our outstanding faculty. This is the second spotlight in the series.
Education: University of Michigan, B.A
Teaches: Latin I,II,III/IV
Mr. Cory Landrum always wanted to serve God through education, so when the opportunity to teach Latin at FGR came in 2019, he jumped at it. “This is pretty much a dream job for me,” he says. “The school’s Catholic nature and mission is the draw for me.”
Mr. Landrum knew from a young age that he wanted to teach, and he credits his grade school teachers for showing him the mission of a good instructor. At the time, his school district “was struggling on a lot of different levels and I witnessed many of my teachers make personal sacrifices. They took large pay cuts year after year just to teach us.” His instructors not only taught facts but, because they poured themselves into their roles, “they were really teaching us about life.”
A convert to Catholicism later in his life, Mr. Landrum first heard Latin as a kid trying to find cartoons on TV. “When I was little, I flipped on the television to something which I now know was Mass. But the priest was speaking a strange language and I thought ‘that’s so cool.’” Mr. Landrum had this memory in the back of his mind when he decided one summer to learn the language “on a whim.” This decision led him to fall in love with Latin and to excel in the University of Michigan’s language placement test, which in turn allowed him to change his major from German to Classical Languages and Literature.
The Latin teacher believes that “language is a pathway to understanding and accessing another culture’s worldview.” His love for Latin is tied to a desire to understand other cultures and ideas, and in particular, early Christian theology and philosophy. For this reason, Mr. Landrum’s favorite lesson plans interweave philosophy with the Latin the high schoolers learn. Incorporating philosophy in Latin class also helps students “to think critically not only about their faith in the context of reason, but also the world at large.” Mr. Landrum shares that “the kids get really invested because then they start to say, ‘Oh wait. Look at my peers, or look at the media I’m seeing. I can see aspects of these philosophies and not only that, I see the problems that can proceed from them.”
Mr. Landrum understands the power of the classroom. Early on, he realized that “the battleground in society is not necessarily in Congress. It’s actually in the classroom. That’s where the future leaders are going to come from, so if I want to have a positive influence not only now but also on the future, and help form good, virtuous citizens, I wanted to be in a position where I can do that.”