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The Blazer

Branson’s student-run newspaper
Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Faculty spotlight: From math to military to Malawi

Latin teacher Henri De Marcellus’ journey showcases his global perspective.
Wilson Wendt
Atticus teaching the Latin IV class in November. Latin has been a core part of the language department for years.

When you think of a Latin teacher, you might imagine someone in a tweed blazer with wire-rimmed glasses, engrossed in ancient manuscripts, with a life dedicated to the language. Henri de Marcellus—better known as Atticus on the Branson campus—turns this stereotype on its head.

De Marcellus’ life has taken him in a multitude of directions, across continents and careers. How many other Latin teachers can humbly claim to have served their country, taught the classics in Malawi and been an entrepreneurial tech CEO?

Henri de Marcellus first came in contact with ancient languages at Princeton University as an undergrad on an ROTC scholarship. While he initially planned to major in math, a few captivating classics courses ensnared his imagination and drew him into the ancient world.

“The army paid for my undergraduate tuition, so I thought, ‘I’m going to have a job when I get out,’” de Marcellus said.

 After receiving his undergraduate degree from Princeton, de Marcellus was assigned to the 2nd Armored Cavalry and tasked with securing the West German-Czechoslovakian border—where he unfortunately lost part of his hand in an accident. 

Following his stint in the military, he attended UC Berkeley for a year, studying Latin and Greek, then was off to Oxford for a doctorate in ancient Greek history. 

However, fate had more adventures in store for de Marcellus. With few positions in the classics available, he found himself heading to Southeastern Africa to lead the classics department at the University of Malawi. Navigating through supposed witchcraft, this was a unique opportunity to educate students in Latin, Ancient Greek and ancient political thought in a landscape vastly different from the lecture halls of Princeton, Berkeley or Oxford.

After two years in Malawi, Atticus returned to the United States to work for a tech company, which would within a year be sold to IBM. Building on this experience, Atticus decided to dive into the deep end of the pool and become a tech startup CEO.

“In 1998, my old college roommates and I realized if we were ever going to start a company, this was the time,” de Marcellus said. Thus, Resounding Technology was born, a company that pioneered voice-chat-over-the-internet for gamers.

But despite his venture into the tech world, de Marcellus’ passion for teaching never waned. 

“I love teaching,” he said, and so, when presented with the opportunity, he transitioned to teaching at the Branson School. Here, his multifaceted journey informs his teaching style, making classes not just about Latin, but life lessons too.

Today, Marcellus carries the wisdom gained from his varied experiences as he navigates the roles of language and humanities teacher as well as Dean of the Class of 2027.

“I’ve discovered that I really enjoy the positions where there’s student interaction,” he said, underscoring the essence of a Branson education.

So, the next time you’re in one of de Marcellus’ classes, realize that you’re not just learning from a teacher, but from a soldier, a scholar, an entrepreneur and a lifelong learner. He may be teaching you Latin, but his life story is a lesson in resilience, adaptability and the pursuit of passion.

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About the Contributor
Wilson Wendt
Wilson Wendt, Writer