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HT Takes on Latin Forum

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Students enjoy free-time after completing Latin Forum in Troy, Alabama.

Students enjoy free-time after completing Latin Forum in Troy, Alabama.

Students enjoy free-time after completing Latin Forum in Troy, Alabama.

Charlotte Varnes, Staff Reporter

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Summer. It’s a time students spend a variety of ways: binge watching Netflix, getting ahead on volunteer hours, traveling with family, playing club sports. Not many would consider spending a week of it in the blistering Alabama heat and taking daily tests on Latin or Greek. But there’s always more than meets the eye. Eight Holy Trinity Latin students spent the last week of July at the National Latin Convention at Troy University with 1,300 members of Junior Classical Leagues from all over the country.

The week’s events included athletic competitions, giving speeches, taking tests, several dances, and a daily assembly that kicked off with a uniquely-themed cheering competition each day.

“Certamen was my favorite part because it was entertaining watching Florida win,” said sophomore Colin Mclaughlin.

He described the trivia game as “Jeopardy but better.” States competed against each other in classical subjects such as derivatives, mythology, Roman history, and Latin grammar in order to gain points and play towards winning a national championship, with the Florida Advanced Team eventually doing so.

“The talent show was pretty great,” said sophomore Grant Thorpe. The event included participants from several different states dancing, playing the piano, and singing.

Sophomore Nicholas Olomu listed his favorite event as Fellowship, a statewide meeting held at night where Florida Junior Classical League officers would lead a panel discussing the day’s events, rehearse cheers, look over the next day’s schedule, and go through lost & found. Those with lost items had to go in front of the whole delegation and sing in order to get them back, and Olomu enjoyed watching sophomore Michael Tomadakis do so to retrieve his lost phone.

“It was nicer than state because we got more downtime, and I liked meeting people from different states,” said junior Tara Carroll.

Carroll, an AP Latin student, added that she’s looking forward to being more enthusiastic about the Junior Classical League this school year, thanks to the positive experience she had at Nationals.

“My favorite part was Spirit, which is a cheering competition where we came up with different cheers and said them as a state,” said sophomore Esha Patel.

There were four Spirit sessions overall, each with a different theme, and all occurring in the first 15 minutes of the daily General Assemblies. Every delegation would compete and cheer at the same time, but states were divided into categories of Extra Small, Small, Medium, and Large to make scoring fair. Results were tallied to determine which delegations had the most points during the week and Florida placed second in the Large State division.

Additionally, Patel was appointed Florida Junior Classical League Technology Coordinator for the 2017-18 year. At Nationals, she helped with setting up Fellowship, distributing props for Spirit, and leading cheers during Spirit, while over the next year, she will help with maintaining the FJCL website and planning State Latin Forum.

Holy Trinity attended National Convention for the first time in 2016 with four students, and this year, the number doubled. Between the eight attendees, there were 10 top-10 finishes in both academic and creative subjects, including Dramatic Interpretations, Ancient Geography, Greek Derivatives, Modern Myth, Ink Drawings, and Hellenic History. After a third place finish at State Forum last spring and such success at Nationals, it’s clear Holy Trinity Junior Classical League has nowhere to go but ad astra.  

And, academic successes aside, Nationals wasn’t about memorizing every battle in Roman history, an entire conjugation of verbs, or every derivative known to man. The convention helped build camaraderie between students, showed them what life on a college campus is like, and introduced them to new friends from all over the country. Spending time with best friends and enjoying academics on the side makes for a very fun and exciting week.

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HT Takes on Latin Forum