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Latin I Novice Certamen Team Ranked First in the Region

Congratulations to the Latin I Novice Certamen Team, which currently holds first place in the region and will compete in the state finals in April. Novice team members include freshmen Alyanna Arlegui, Leo Brett, Derek Damasco, Ryan Dombrowski and Jonathan Merchan.
Certamen—the Latin word for "contest"—is a game of fast recall about classical civilization, including ancient people, languages, literature and culture. Certamen competitions are sponsored by the Illinois chapter of the National Junior Classical League, established in 1936 to encourage an interest in and appreciation of ancient Greece and Rome.

"I am so excited for these students," says Latin team coach and language teacher Mrs. Becki Wick. "They work incredibly hard." Mrs. Wick has taught Latin and Greek at Loyola since 1997.

Loyola's Latin Team competes with other high schools in the northern district of the Illinois Certamen League at all levels—novice (first year), intermediate (second year) and advanced (third and fourth years). The novice team practices every Tuesday and Friday morning.

Despite the ancient content of their competitions, team members utilize technology to enhance their study. "We created a group chat so we could better communicate with each other," says Derek Damasco '20. "We send each other information about topics we need to study."  

Damasco, who has had some experience with Spanish before high school, has emerged as a leader on the Novice Latin Team. "I decided to take Latin at Loyola because I wanted to study a language that would teach me more about how language is structured," he says. "I enjoy studying Latin because it forces one to understand grammar and root words. I also enjoy Roman history and culture."
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