New WJ Pig Latin Honors Society established


Photo by Seyun Park

Society president Alexander Lewton gives a presentation about the basics of Pig Latin. The presentation was a precursor to the society’s first official meeting on Friday in the stadium.

A new honors society has been established at WJ to honor top scholars in Pig Latin. The Society, called “Hethay Igpay Atinlay Onorshay Ocietysay,” (or HIAOO for short), will focus on educating WJ students about Pig Latin and spreading knowledge and awareness about the Pig Latin language and culture across the community.

Led by senior Alexander Lewton, the honors society will accept applications until May 1, and all prospective members will need to pass a test in Pig Latin to prove their fluency. The society will also change its membership requirements next year to require all members to receive a 3 or higher on the AP Pig Latin exam (debuting next year). However, Lewton emphasized HIAOO’s openness for all.

“We are not a secret society. As I like to say, ‘Pig Latin is for everyone.’ Even though we require members to be fluent, anyone can and should come to our meetings to learn Pig Latin.” Lewton said.

The society has big plans for its first few months including tutoring students in Pig Latin and hosting events like a “Pig Latin Spelling Bee” and “Pig Latin Karaoke.” However, the society also plans to do advocacy in the community to spread Pig Latin.

One of our first goals as an organization will be to advocate to get Pig Latin into schools – not just through clubs, but making it a class across the county.

— Alexander Lewton

Despite some parents and teachers criticizing HIAOO for what they call its “uselessness,” in the two days the application has been open, over 1000 students at WJ have applied, and the club has received rave reviews.

“HIAOO meetings are the only reason I come to school nowadays,” sophomore Henry Healey said.

The society’s first meeting, which was held on Friday, Mar. 31, was changed last minute to meet in the stadium after the fire department marshall ruled that meeting in the auditorium was unsafe given the number of students expected to attend the meeting.

In the future, the society is expected to move out of WJ and seek a larger meeting place as membership exceeds the capacity of any space in the school. The society has also received letters from all across the country asking to form chapters of HIAOO. The club plans on purchasing The Pentagon to accommodate all of its members.

“As of Saturday morning, we had over 10,000 letters requesting a chapter charter from schools as far as California and Alaska. The postal service had to bring multiple trucks to the school specifically for our mail,” Lewton said.

Lewton has now received direct admission offers and full-ride scholarships to every single school in the Ivy League after admission officers heard about the HIAOO’s work and Lewton’s role in HIAOO.

“To be completely honest, for me, this was never about college. It never even once entered my mind. Obviously it’s great that this has opened up so many doors for me, but the end goal has been and always will be promoting Pig Latin to everyone,” Lewton said.